The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to open special session courts to deal with offences against women and children, while also proposing strong legislation.
Briefing reporters on the decisions taken at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said 18 additional posts would be created for the courts. The first court would be in Kochi.
Chandy said the draft Kerala Protection of Privacy and Dignity Women Bill, 2013, would be published in a week.
He said the bill would provide strong legal framework to deal with crimes against women. It would propose a seven-year jail term for abuses against women in public place or online.
The punishment could be enhanced to life term with or without fine. It would even be life term with fine or death penalty, in the event of the victim’s death as a result of the harassment. It also stipulates trials to be conducted in-camera to protect the victim’s privacy, while insisting on capital punishment for rape-deaths. Aiming to expand the scope of offences against women of any age, the Bill “offers a widest possible definition for the term ‘harassment,’ “he said. “It proposes punishment, if the dead woman is subjected to harassment such as obscene act in public places, intentionally causing outrage to modesty of a woman, rape, gesture or words, or any other action to hurt the dignity of a woman, unless proved otherwise.”
The Bill defines harassment of women as any act by a person or indecent conduct that causes or is likely to cause hurt to her dignity, intimidation, fear, shame or embarrassment.