A 16-year-old girl befriended a man on a social networking site and made the mistake of meeting him. During the meeting, their private moments were captured by the man’s friend; they later used the photograph to blackmail and extort money from the girl.
This was one of the first few cases the police registered under the newly-amended criminal law in which capturing or watching private moments of a woman have been termed an offence. Similarly, in another case, four men were arrested from a Metro train for stalking a woman.
The amendments in the criminal law, after the December 16 gangrape, have given freedom to the police to categorise crimes against women.
Now the section has been divided into four subheads. Broadly, cases of sexual harassment are registered under section 354A, including cases in which a woman is physically contacted (i.e. groped), or someone has made sexual remarks or showed pornographic material to her forcibly.
Cases like assault during a molestation attempt are registered under Section 354 B. Cases like someone capturing or watching private moments of a woman are now registered under section 354 C. The fourth part of the law 354D deals with stalking and most of the cases have come under this head.
This year till May 31, 1,618 molestations were reported. After the law was amended, 501 accused were booked for sexual harassment, 60 for assaulting a woman, four for capturing or watching private moments of a woman and 135 accused for stalking. A survey of molestation cases revealed that out of 1,282 cases (till April 30), nearly 40% took place on the road.