Women not safe at public places even in broad daylight, says Delhi court

It is a serious public order problem if women are not safe at places like bus stops even in broad daylight, a Delhi court said while dismissing the fervent pleas of a man accused of assaulting a girl at a busy bus stand eight years ago.

Metropolitan Magistrate Ekta Gauba declined to release Suresh Babu (45) on probation as she quoted a recent apex court judgment to say that “benefit of Probation of Offenders Act cannot be extended to the accused considering the heinous crime, i.e., crime against women that accused had committed and social conditions prevailing in society...and so the benefit of probation is not available to persons convicted of offences under Section 354 [assault with intent to outrage modesty], 354A [sexual harassment] 354B [assaulting a woman with intent to disrobe], 354C [voyeurism] and 354D [stalking] of the Indian Penal Code.”

The court sent him behind bars for a year. It also directed him to pay a compensation of Rs.5,000 to the victim, besides a fine of Rs.1,000.

“The convict does not deserve to be released on probation in view of the fact that it is a serious public order problem if women are not safe even in the afternoon at places like bus stops...” the court said.

According to the prosecution, the victim had gone to Udyog Nagar on March 10, 2006, to handover a lunchbox to her sister, who was employed in a factory there. While she was waiting for her sister at a nearby bus stand, Babu came up to her and told her that she was very beautiful. He even offered her money to accompany him. When she objected, Babu slapped her and continued to misbehave.

It was only after large crowd gathered there that he rushed into the factory where he worked as a labourer. The victim identified him from a picture shown by the factory manager.

Babu pleaded for release on probation on the grounds that he has four minor children and aged parents to look after, and is the sole breadwinner of the family.

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