After the molestation charge by two air hostesses against three footballers on Tuesday, legal experts have called for much tougher punishment for molestation.
A cross-section of lawyers told Hindustan Times that the maximum punishment for molestation is too little to be a deterrent. “A serious crime like molestation is bailable while something as frivolous as trespassing is non-bailable,” said criminal lawyer Wahab Khan, adding: “Even an attempted rape can be considered molestation and becomes bailable,” Khan said.
Special Public Prosecutor Usha Makasare said: “There is practically no punishment for molestation in the section’s present form – the highest punishment for molestation is two years, and magistrates who pass a conviction tend to immediately grant bail.
Criminal lawyer Shrikant Bhatt, the dissenting voice on this issue, said: “Why do we need to make molestation non-bailable? Bail is to be denied if custodial interrogation is necessary – what interrogation will they do in a molestation case?
If molestation is an offence, what about deliberate sexual provocation by girls who wear skimpy clothes – that should also be made an offence,” said Bhatt.