A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to inform it about the steps being taken to implement the directives and guidelines issued by the Supreme Court to prevent eve-teasing at public places.

The Bench comprising Justice K.T. Sankaran and Justice Babu Mathew P. Joseph issued the directive when a petition filed by Laya George, chairperson of the college union in Aquinas College, seeking a directive to the State government to enforce the Supreme Court directives came up for hearing.

She claimed the State government was yet to implement the apex court directives. Eve-teasing had been a pernicious and disgusting practice. The petitioner had encountered eve-teasing when she was travelling in buses and at public places such as bus stands and railway stations.

In a bid to curb eve-teasing, the Supreme Court had directed all States and Union Territories to depute women officers in plainclothes at public places - bus stands, railway stations, metro stations, cinema theatres, shopping malls.

The apex court had observed that the protection of girls and women was of utmost importance to a civilised and cultured society. The experiences of women and girl children in overcrowded buses, metros, and trains were “horrendous and a painful ordeal”.

The Supreme Court Bench had observed: “Eve-teasing is a euphemism, a conduct which attracts penal action but it is seen [that] only in Tamil Nadu a statute has been created to contain the same, the consequence of which may at times be drastic. Eve-teasing led to the death of a woman in 1998 in Tamil Nadu which led to the government bringing an ordinance, namely, the Tami Nadu Prohibition of Eve Teasing Ordinance, 1998, which later became an Act, namely, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve-Teasing Act, 1998.”

The Supreme Court had directed the State governments and the Union Territories to install CCTVs at strategic positions which itself would be a deterrent and if detected, the offender could be caught.

Persons in charge of educational institutions, places of worship, cinema theatres, railway stations and bus stands should take steps to prevent eve-teasing within their precincts and, on a complaint being made, they must pass on the information to the nearest police station or the women’s help centre, the apex court had ordered.

The Supreme Court had directed that if any passenger or person in-charge of a public service vehicle indulged in eve-teasing, the crew shall take the vehicle to the nearest police station and give information to the police. Permit should be cancelled in case of failure to do so.

The State governments and the Union Territories had also been directed to establish women’s helpline at cities and towns to curb eve-teasing.

The other directives of the Supreme Court to tackle eve-teasing included displaying suitable boards cautioning against eve-teasing in the precincts of educational institutions, bus stands, railway stations, cinema theatres, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship, etc. and issuing suitable instructions to authorities, including District Collectors and the Superintendent of Police, on effective and proper measures to curb eve-teasing.

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