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Sexual harassment will be non-bailable offence: Mah govt

Posted on Jan 17, 09:41PM | UNI

The Maharashtra government will propose making sexual harassment and molestation of women non-bailable offences in the state, The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Home Minister R R Patil in Mantralaya yesterday, where ways to reduce crimes against women were discussed, sources said.

Home officials said proposals to amend sections 354 (assaulting a woman to outrage her modesty) and 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman by word or gesture) of the Indian Penal Code would be tabled in the budget session of the state legislature, which commences in March. At present, sections 354 and 509 are bailable offences, he said.

In July 2011, the state decided to ask the Centre to amend the two sections. But the home department did not receive the necessary response from the Centre. Sixteen months later, the public outcry after the Delhi gangrape has led to the Democratic Front (DF) government proposing changes at the state level.

The Mantralaya meeting was attended by former Bombay high court judge C S Dharmadhikari, NCP MP Supriya Sule, principal secretary (home) Medha Gadgil, senior IPS officers Meera Borwankar and Deven Bharti, Superintendent of Police (highway security) Rashmi Karandikar, retired IAS officer Chandra Iyengar and home department officials.

A senior home department official said, "At the meeting, the home minister assured that, while recruiting for police, the department would try to reserve 30 per cent posts for women." The participants discussed several other measures, including setting up a separate investigation wing to probe crimes against women.