Concerned about the spate of eve-teasing cases in the state, the Maharashtra government is considering a proposal to make it a non-bailable offence. Even the Supreme Court, terming the consequences of eve-teasing as ‘disastrous,’ issued a slew of guidelines to curb the menace and asked the government to depute women cops in plain clothes at public places. Apart from leaving a female extremely distraught, repeated eve-teasing could also lead to suicidal tendencies. But will strict implementation of the law alone help in curbing this social evil or is there a need to change the mindset of people? Speak Up finds out...
Victims must come forward and register a complaint
Right now, the situation is such that eve-teasers have no fear of the law as they know it is a bailable offence and one can get out within an hour’s time. Making it non-bailable will surely discourage over 90% of these offenders, fearing the stringent law. Today, many girls who have fallen prey to this ugly practice of eve-teasing are forced by their parents to leave their college or education. There are many examples of eve-teasing taking an ugly turn wherein the victimised girls have become mentally disturbed to such an extent that they have committed suicide. The law has to be stringent to curb eve-teasing especially among youngsters. However, the police too should act promptly on such cases. Even the victimised girls must come forward and register a complaint so that police action can be taken.
Suryakant Kulkarni, Executive Director, Socio Economic Development Trust
Stringent law is needed to instill fear among offenders
If the state is proposing to make eve-teasing a non-bailable offence, it is a welcome step. Eve-teasing could lead the offender to committing more grievous offences like acid attacks, rapes and even murder. A more stringent law is needed to instill fear among eve-teasers. Along with bringing this new law for eve-teasing, the state should also strengthen and train the police machinery and judiciary to deal with such an offence. Our society must be made aware of the fact that such an offence will not be tolerated.
The chalta hai attitude that exists today among people is actually causing harm to society. Also, the victim of eve-teasing should not be quiet or afraid and should take help of law. We have to sensitise our police and lawyers about the eve-teasing issue. We have to understand that it is not easy for eve-teasing victims to come out of the trauma faced.
Rama Sarode, Advocate & Human Rights Activist
Police must take cases like eve-teasing seriously
Since the situation in the state is such that crimes against women are increasing day-by-day, stringent laws should be introduced. However, having such laws alone won’t decrease these crimes. We also have to change the outlook of men towards women otherwise such crimes will keep on happening. On the other hand, the police and lawyers must also take cases of eve-teasing more seriously. The biggest hurdle in such cases is to find proof and produce it as evidence. We have started sex education in schools but we also have to teach children that before being identified as males or females, we are all human beings first.
Vidya Bal, Activist, Women’s Issues & Editor, Milun Sarya Jani
Eve-teasing offences registered within Pune city are less
There are two sides to making eve-teasing a non-bailable offence. In one way it is good as it will discourage men from committing such an act but at the same time, there is also a possibility of misusing the law. However, I am of the opinion that the state must make eve-teasing a non-bailable offence to instill fear in the minds of offenders. As of now, these eve-teasers are not scared of the law as the offence is bailable. Eve-teasing is mostly carried out by young boys and such incidents are increasing on college campuses, youth hangouts, gardens and especially during crowd-pulling festivals like Ganeshotsav in Pune. Compared to other cities in Maharashtra, the eve-teasing offences registered within Pune city are less.
Smita Jadhav, Incharge, Women Grievance Redressal Cell, Pune Police
Both the victim of this social evil and offender need to be counselled
To make eve-teasing a non-bailable offence is a positive sign from the government. It is an offence that mostly happens on college campus and locally as well, but we see that society is unwary about it. We have to consider the victim of eve-teasing as well as the offender as both need counselling. A victim of eve-teasing can experience traumatic stress disorder, guilt and anger against the opposite sex, which can later interfere in building relationships with men. In the worst case scenario, if the victim is repeatedly targeted, it could lead to suicidal tendencies.
In case of offenders, eve-teasing must be seen as an early sign among youngsters, which is identified as an anti-social behaviour. It has been observed that boys in the age group of 13-15 start getting involved in the eve-teasing practice in schools. The act must be addressed at an early stage by parents and schools otherwise there is a high chance of these boys getting into anti-social activities, aggressive behaviour, addiction to substances and have relationship problems.
Dr Swapnil Deshmukh, Psychiatrist
Eve-tesing curbs a girl’s freedom
I am really happy with Maharashtra government’s decision to consider eve-teasing a
non-bailable offence. Eve teasing not only hurts a girl’s dignity but also curbs her freedom to live. It becomes even more difficult for a girl to face society, which has always been male-dominated. Hence, stern laws should be implemented to curb this social evil completely. Penalising with imprisonment and fine will send a strong message to offenders.
Ripple Bhandari, student