Citing the absence of a uniform law in the country to deal with the “horrid and disgusting” crime of eve-teasing, the Supreme Court Friday issued a slew of directives to all state governments and union territories to protect women from such a “painful ordeal”.
A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra, while referring to a similar move by the court to tackle sexual harassment at work places, said that it had become urgent for it to interfere in public interest and pass directions to curb the menace.
The apex court directed all states and union territories to establish within three months women’s helplines in cities and towns to curb harassment. It also said women police officers in plain clothes should be deployed near public places such as bus and train stations, cinema halls, shopping malls and parks, among others.
The court ordered installation of CCTV cameras in all such public places, which it underlined, would not only help in nabbing offenders but also act as a deterrent.
The bench also said that permits of public carriers would be cancelled if the driver or anyone else in-charge of the vehicle fails to take it to the nearest police station on receiving a complaint about harassment.
“Responsibility is also on the passers-by and on noticing such incident, they should also report the same to the nearest police station or to women’s helpline to save the victims from such crimes,” it added.
The bench asked people in-charge of places such as educational institutions, places of worship and cinema halls to inform the nearest police station or the women’s help centre on receiving a harassment complaint. Suitable signages cautioning against the crime should also be exhibited in all public places.
“The state governments and union territories of India would take adequate and effective measures by issuing suitable instructions to the concerned authorities including the district collectors and the district superintendent of police so as to take effective and proper measures to curb such incidents of eve-teasing,” said the bench.
The court’s directions came while hearing an appeal by the Tamil Nadu police department against an order to re-instate a police officer, who had been dismissed after being found guilty of harassing a woman. The high court had passed the order after the officer had been acquitted by a criminal court.
The apex court reversed the HC’s order saying disciplinary proceedings had rightly held the officer guilty and