New Delhi: Eve-teasing and stalking violate women's right to life and liberty and are a menace which makes them feel unsafe, a Delhi court has observed.
The court also observed that eve-teasing and stalking are a "ridiculous form of enjoyment for men but physical and mental torture for women".
It said a large percentage of Indian women have faced or are facing this menace and they find themselves vulnerable to threat of eve-teasing everywhere, be it a public transport system, public place, shopping mall or multiplex.
Metropolitan magistrate Susheel Bala Dagar's observation came while holding 22-year-old Rajesh, a resident of Sultan Puri in north west Delhi, guilty of stalking a girl and uttering words, making gestures intended to insult her modesty and sentenced him to three months in jail.
"Eve-teasing has become a menace in the society due to which women feel unsafe and nervous to move out alone. Eve-teasing is a typical social crime which violates the right to life and liberty of the women in the metropolitan cities," the court said.
It said eve-teasing and stalking violate a woman's right to live with dignity and the convict must be awarded such a sentence which discourages the other like minded people of the society from doing such offences.
"Acts of stalking, passing lewd remarks and gestures, brushing against the woman's body and passing vulgar comments are some of the things which women in metropolitan cities face all the time and what exactly happens simply depends upon the opportunity which the perverts gets," the magistrate said.
"Men who indulge in such enjoyment do not seem to realise how a woman may be affected by their comments and acts. These men feel it right to show their attention and aggression towards women. They rather feel validated by acting sexually and aggressively towards women.
"In case of eve-teasing and stalking, the seriousness of the offence lies not in the extent of punishment it carries but on the impact, it has social psyche and public order," it said.
The court noted that in this case, Rajesh kept on following the complainant despite clear indication of disinterest on her part and passed obscene comments on her while following her on her way to office in the bus as well as when she went for tuition classes.
According to the prosecution, the woman, who was working in a bank, filed the complaint with the police alleging that in December, 2013, Rajesh followed her in the bus and stood near her seat despite clear indications of disinterest.
He also uttered words to outrage her modesty while she was going to her office and tuition classes on several occasions, it said.
During the trial, the youth claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case and was not even present at the spot. The court refused to grant benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act to the convict observing that it cannot be done in cases of crime against women.
It directed the convict to give Rs 10,000 compensation to the victim.