Thursday, Oct 31, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Bill, amending the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve-teasing, which was enacted in 1998 after the gory death of a Chennai college student, Sarika Shah, in an eve-teasing incident, provides for life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Rs. 50,000 on those causing death of a woman by harassment.
The proposed law also imposes stringent punishment of a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and not less than Rs. 50,000 on eve-teasers in case the women they harassed commit suicide.
Significantly, the Bill states that the onus of proving innocence lies on those accused of having caused or abetted the "harassment death" or "harassment suicide."
It also provides for awarding compensation to victims of eve-teasing who suffer any loss or injury or disability or mental agony, and to their legal heir.
According to Section 4 of the Bill, a maximum of three years imprisonment and a fine not less than Rs. 10,000, would be the penalty for "whoever commits or participates in or abets harassment of women" in any place.
If the harassment is "with the intention of causing death or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death," the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend for life and with fine, which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000.
And, if the harassment is done "with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death," the punishment shall be with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000. However, if the harassment death is caused due to "rashness or negligence," the offender shall be punished with the imprisonment, which may extend to 10 years and with fine, which shall not be less than Rs. 25,000, according to Section 4 (A) of the Bill.
The explanatory statement on the Bill says the Government had considered the recommendations of the State Law Commission and decided to amend the legislation to make it "stringent and effective."
On a day when nine Bills were introduced in the House today, the Local Administration Minister, M.C. Sampath, moved a Bill extending the terms of special officers in the reserved panchayats of Pappapatti, Keeripatti, Nattamangalam and Kottakatchendal panchayats where Dalits were refusing to contest in the local bodies elections fearing reprisal from the majority Thevar community. However, the CPI objected to the Bill, at its introductory stage, on the ground that it was improper to continue the terms of special officers without ensuring conduct of elections there.
As many as 16 Bills including the contentious Tamil Nadu Forcible Conversion of Religion Bill would be taken up for consideration on the last day of the Assembly session tomorrow.
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