With the recent spate of attacks on women in the city, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed concern over their safety and observed that common man does not seem to be afraid of the law or police anymore.
Citing the incident in which a woman suffered burn injuries on Tuesday after a besotted man attacked her, Justice V M Kanade said, “What is happening? Something is seriously wrong somewhere. There was a time when the presence of a single constable was enough to deter crime. Now nobody is afraid.”
The court was hearing a suo motu PIL on safety of women. On September 17, the court had recommended framing of guidelines to ensure women’s safety and security while handing out death sentence to two cab drivers from Pune who had raped and killed a BPO employee in 2007.
The court had raised concern over private vehicles and pre-paid taxis that are not safe for women. It had asked the state government to take stock of regulations to ensure the safety of women traveling alone in pre-paid taxis.
Public prosecutor Revati Dere pointed out that on November 30, the Supreme Court had issued directives to all state governments regarding the issue of eve-teasing.
Adjourning the case to next week, the court said since the apex court was dealing with the issue, HC need not consider it.
‘There is a Need for law against stalking’
In October 2008, Bombay High Court, while hearing a petition filed by Asha Bajaj, the alleged stalker of IPS officer Meeran Borwankar, had said there is a need for a law against stalking. Stating that Bajaj was stalking Borwankar, the then Advocate General Ravi Kadam argued, “Stalking is an area of psychiatry that is currently overlooked. Experts define stalking as the wilful, malicious and repeated following or harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety”.
The state government had said, “If a person is continuously harassed by SMSes and letters of the nature of which the petitioner (Bajaj) was allegedly writing to respondent No.1 (Borwankar), there should be some law against such behaviour,” it had said. The court, however, said it is for the legislature to take steps to introduce the law.