Terming the consequences of eve-teasing as "disastrous," the Supreme Court today issued a slew of guidelines to curb the menace and asked government to depute women cops in plain clothes at public places.
"All the state governments and Union territories are directed to depute plain-clothes female police officers in the precincts of bus stands, railway stations, metro stations, cinema theatres, shopping malls, parks, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship etc. so as to monitor and supervise incidents of eve-teasing," a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.
The court said the guidelines were necessary as there is "no uniform law" to deal with the menace.
"We notice that there is no uniform law in this country to curb eve-teasing effectively in or within the precincts of educational institutions, places of worship, bus stands, metro-stations, railway stations, cinema theatres, parks, beaches, places of festival, public service vehicles or any other similar place," the bench said.
The court, in its 26-page judgement, said the menace of eve teasing can be effectively curbed with a little effort and if unchecked, its consequences could be "disastrous" as like sexual harassment, eve-teasing amounts to violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
"Consequences of not curbing such a menace, needless to say, are at times disastrous. There are many instances where girls of young age are being harassed, which sometimes may lead to serious psychological problems and even committing suicide.
"Every citizen in this country has the right to live with dignity and honour which is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Sexual harassment like eve teasing amounts to violation of rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 as well," it said.
The apex court laid down the guidelines in the judgement by which it set aside a verdict of the Madras High Court.
The high court had set aside the judgement of a Central Administrative Tribunal upholding the dismissal of policeman S Samuthiram who had misbehaved with a married woman at about 11.00 PM on July 9, 1999 at Tenkasi bus stand in Tiruneveli in a drunken state.
The court said, "The necessity of a proper legislation to curb eve-teasing is of extreme importance, even the Tamil Nadu Legislation (on the menace) has no teeth."
"The experiences of women and girl children in over-crowded buses, metros, trains etc. are horrendous and a painful ordeal. Before undertaking suitable legislation to curb eve-teasing, it is