New Delhi: The Supreme Court has slammed the government on Friday for failing to curb sexual harassment of women and said undercover female police should be stationed in public places.
The top court urged action to stop what is commonly known in India as eve-teasing, which refers to a wide variety of harassment such as molestation or flashing.
"We notice that there is no uniform law in this country to curb Eve-teasing effectively," judges KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.
The court directed the state governments to put female police officers in all public spaces including markets, parks, beaches and public transport.
It warned that if no steps were taken to combat the problem the consequences could be "disastrous".
Numerous cases have come to light where young girls are harassed, with some suffering serious psychological trauma and even committing suicide.
Last year a survey by the International Centre for Research on Women of 1,000 teenage boys in Mumbai showed that the overwhelming majority viewed the harassment of women as harmless and inoffensive.
There have long been complaints that police in India are dismissive of sexual harassment as a serious crime and many argue that this mentality is reinforced by the idea that victims are only being "teased".
Many incidents go unreported, activists say, because women believe they will simply be courting ridicule and even further harassment.