September 11, 2011


Hindustan Times

Sexual harassment to be a non-bailable offence

Acting on the recommendations of one-man justice CS Dharmadhikari committee, the state government will soon make sexual harassment a non-bailable offence. Other recommendations made by justice Dharmadhikari include setting up of a separate space for such victims in the police station, increasing police vigilance in vulnerable areas, and separate fast-track courts for trying such cases.

To make it a non-bailable offence, the state will have to make amendments in the section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), following which if convicted, the offender might end up spending entire lifetime in jail.

Converting a June 21 HT report — on the molestation of a woman in a local train — into a public interest litigation, the Bombay high court had on June 25 suggested that the state government make molestation a non-bailable offence.

The government has set a three-month deadline to review and assess these recommendations put forth in a report tabled by justice Dharmadhikari, which will be finalised and tabled in the winter session of the assembly.

A meeting of senior officials of the home department, women and child department, and law and judiciary department was held on Monday to deliberate on the recommendations of the Dharmadhikari committee and see which of these can be implemented.

“The decision to make the offence non-bailable is under the consideration and the law and judiciary department is assessing the legal aspects. We have to make sure there is no scope of misuse,” said Medha Gadgil, principal secretary, home department.

A controversial recommendation — banning all sites that show provocative material — cannot be implemented due to weak cyber laws and the vast nature of the internet medium, a senior government official said.

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