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Eve Teasing

Eve Teasing is a serious social menace. In certain cases, it leads to ragging in education institutions. Recent past witnessed so many suicides by junior students as a consequence of the ragging by the senior students in medical and engineering colleges in particular and drew the attention of Supreme Court, which laid down certain guidelines to curb/eradicate the menace of ragging.

The expression 'eve teasing' has not been defined in the Code (i.e. I.P.C. or Cr.P.C.). however offences U/S 294 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are identical to eve teasing as det5ained below :-

Section 294 of the IPC deals with an offence of causing annoyance of others by doing obscene acts or singing, reciting or uttering obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place, which is punishable with an imprisonment for three months or with fine or with both. The word 'obscene' has not been expanded for the reason that the notions about obscenity are bound to change from time to time and depend upon the class of persons whose susceptibility i8nto the matter is involved. The test of obscenity is whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is deprive and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences. The words uttered must be capable of arousing sexually impure thoughts in the minds of the hearers which must cause annoyance to the person against whom they are uttered. "Annoyance to others" is an essential ingredient as it must be established by the prosecution that annoyance has been caused by the accused to others. The word "others" includes women also and the words "public place" means "a place where the public has a right to go or have a right to enter or have a limited right of access." The Section has wide application to all such acts forming part of the substance of the offence and addressed to the public at large, provided these cause annoyance. Whenever a girl or woman feels annoyed by any obscene act, or song, or words can take recourse under this Section. The offence under this Section is cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by any Magistrate.

Outraging the modesty of a woman (Sec.354). The word modesty is not defined in the Code. The dictionary meaning of the word 'modesty' is, "a state of being free from undue familiarity." The word "Outrage" means "an act of extreme violence or cruelty."

Modesty is the attribute of female sex which she possesses it from her very birth. Section 354 of the IPC reads as follows: "Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both".

The offence, thus, consists of two essential ingredients, the commission of either assault or use of criminal force on any woman with the intention and knowledge that it would outrage the modesty of a woman. Assault and criminal force have been separately defined in the IPC under Section 350 and 351 respectively and are punishable as substantive offences in themselves; the offence Under Section 354 IPC is cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by any Magistrate.

The scope and application of this provision is very wide and covers women of any age, whether she is young or old , sleeping or awake, intelligent or imbecile. The acts of molestation could also be brought under the purview of Sections 294 and 354 of the IPC. As such the word molestation has not been defined any where in legal terminology, but in general parlance, it means 'causing intentional annoyance involving a certain degree of physical contact by use of force with a view to harm the other person.' In its simple form, molestation would cover cases of utterances of obscenity, lewd jokes and singing of vulgar songs and should generally be covered by Section 294 of IPC. In its aggravated form, where it is accompanied by gestures indicating the threat of force or use of force, it should be covered under Section 354 of the IPC, as such an act invariably lead to the outraging the modesty of a women.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES :

1. Police Circular Order 343/2013 regarding Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for investigation of Crime against women has been issued to all the District SsP/ DCsP, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack/ SRP Rourkela and SRP, Cuttack.

2. Police Circular Order 338/2013 regarding Prompt investigation and prosecution of crime against women has been issued to all the District SsP./ DCsP, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack / SRP Rourkela and SRP, Cuttack .

3. Concerned Dist. Ss.P. /D.Cs.P. have been advised to intensify patrolling near shandies, women institutions, and during in fairs and festivals. They have also been asked to watch on activities of anti-socials/ drunkards and to conduct raids against circulation of obscene literature and display of blue films.

4. To facilitate integrated approach towards crime against women and children Mahila & Sishu Desks have been setup in 537 Police Stations of the State of Odisha to deal with the complaints of victim women. The District HRPC will act as the Nodal Agencies in such matters within the District.

5. A toll Helpline Telephone Number 1091 has been connected to 6 Mahila Police Station of Odisha to attend the calls from the women victims for redressal of their problems.

6. Women and Child Cells have been setup under the control of Ss.P. of the district assisted by DSP,HRPC and comprising women Inspector & Women Officers & Men of the District to facilitate an integrated and improve response of the police to crime against women & children.

7. Women & child Protection PCR Van with necessary staff with the district police have been provided to women and child cell to attend to all urgent calls received from women and distress.

8. The Chief General Manager, Telecom, Odisha, Bhubaneswar has been moved for allotment of toll free women helpline telephone number to all district women and child cell to attend the calls from the victim women for 24 hours.

Statement on Eve-teasing cases reported :