Terming eve-teasing as a “disgusting, horrid practice”, the Supreme Court said that “male chauvinism has no room” in a civilised society.
The apex court made the observation on 28 April, while dismissing a plea filed by a man who was sentenced to seven years in jail by the Himachal Pradesh High Court for harassing a girl and driving her to commit suicide.
“A man should not put his ego or, for that matter, masculinity on a pedestal and abandon the concept of civility. Egoism must succumb to law,” the SC bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra observed.
Referring to the Constitutional laws, the bench said that a woman has the right to her own space and is granted equality under Article 14, just as a man does. Condemning the incidents of eve-teasing, the SC said:
We are at pains to state that in a civilised society eve-teasing is causing harassment to women in educational institutions, public places, parks, railways stations and other public places which only go to show that requisite sense of respect for women has not been socially cultivated.
The man was initially acquitted by the trial court in July 2010 after which the state had approached the high court.
According to the police, the girl's father had lodged an alleged kidnapping and rape case against the man in which he was subsequently acquitted. According to the case, the accused used to threaten and eve-tease the girl and, in July 2008, she set herself ablaze when her parents were not at home. She was taken to a hospital where she died during treatment.
Speaking on the case, the SC said:
It has to be kept in mind that she has a right to life and entitled to love according to her choice. She has an individual choice which has been legally recognised. It has to be socially respected. No one can compel a woman to love. She has the absolute right to reject.
(With inputs from PTI)