This one may give courage to those who think twice before filing a case of sexual harassment and deter those who always want to keep their foot off the brakes.
The state government has proposed amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to raise the jail term for those outraging modesty: for those who use obscene language, it wants the term increased from one year to two, and for those accused of molestation, from two years to five.
It also wants the period of imprisonment for rash drivers who cause deaths to go up from the current two-to-five-years.
Those whose rash driving does cause death should be jailed for one year and not six months, the punishment the law currently stipulates.
The amendments however require the consent of President Pratibha Patil.
“We will promulgate an ordinance because the Legislature will sit in the Winter Session not before November or December,” said Principal Secretary (Law and Judiciary) M N Gilani.
The state has also picked up a leaf from the Tamil Nadu Act and proposed a new section, 292 (A), which punishes a person for printing, e-mailing or even SMS-ing indecent matter or anything meant for blackmailing a woman.
The punishment should be a jail term of two or five years or both and an “unlimited fine.” Fine in sexual harassment cases is not fixed anyway.
The state, officials said, is concerned due to the increase in cases of rash driving and the easy acquittals of accused. This is why it wants people booked for this offence severely punished.
Actor Salman Khan had in the year 2002 rammed into a bakery in Bandra and killed one person and injured four others.
He was charged for rash and negligent driving causing death, which attracts a maximum of two years’ punishment. No witnesses have come forward in the case.
Another case in the city was that of Alister Pereira, who is serving a sentence after he killed seven people sleeping on a pavement at Carter Road in Bandra in November 2006.
“Following such cases, we have felt the need to propose an increase in the jail term, which would otherwise be two to five years,” Gilani noted.
Plus, those creating mischief and causing loss and damage to any public and private property, including hospitals, media houses, schools, theatres, studios, places of worships and educational institutions will attract a punishment of five years or unlimited fine or both.