Converting a June 21 Hindustan Times report — on the molestation of a woman in a local train — into a public interest litigation, the Bombay high court on Friday suggested that the state government make molestation a non-bailable offence.
Referring to the hostile attitude of the Railway Protection Force personnel when the victim approached them to file a complaint, Chief Justice Mohit Shah said: "It appears that since it is bailable, the police take it lightly. If you make it non-bailable, the police will be required to arrest the culprits and they will take the offence seriously."
The division bench comprising Shah and justice Ranjana Desai also recommended that the state not wait for the Centre to amend the concerned legal provision and instead follow the examples of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, which have amended the provision to make molestation — punishable under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code — a non-bailable offence.
The judges also cited the example of MP, which has added a provision to the IPC, Section 354A, enhancing the punishment for molestation to 10 years’ imprisonment, from one year. The next hearing is on July 7.