Prasad Chande, a Bhandup resident, was booked for indecent behaviour by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus police for trying to molest Sujata Gaikwad (name changed) in the train at Igatpuri, while she was fast asleep. Gaikwad was travelling from Nagpur to Mumbai with her mother to meet some relatives. The duo could only get the reservation for one side berth and they were sharing it. Chande's berth was above and opposite theirs.
"I was fast asleep with my mother. Between 2 am and 3 am, I felt something moving over my dress. I realised that Chande was trying to touch me. He had been trying to do that for quite some time while getting off and on his berth. He even tried putting his hand inside my clothes, I then slapped him," said Sujata, while explaining the incident.
Sujata's mother said, "I asked the man not to leave the train, but he started running away. I chased him to the next compartment, dragged him back to our seats and did not let go of him. He begged me not to register a police complaint, saying that he was going to get married. But I was appalled that someone going to be married can indulge in such indecency."
"Upon reaching CST the next morning, the police told us that an FIR against him would require us to come down to Mumbai several times. So we asked them to charge and fine him, so he would not repeat the act again," Sujata's mother added.
According to police officials, a non-cognisable offence was registered against Chande at the CST police station.
Chande was booked under LAC (Local Act Charges) Sections 110 and 117 for indecent behaviour. He was taken to railway court number 35 where he was fined Rs 200 and sent to police custody for a few hours.
Ashok Jadhav, senior police inspector, said, "The girl and her mother came to us with a complain against Chande, after which we booked him under LAC Act and sent him to the railway court where he was fined."
The other side
Accused Prasad Chande said, "I didn't do much with the girl. She was sleeping with her mother on one berth. As I was taking my shoes off from below her berth my hand touched her body unintentionally. I admit that I touched her intentionally the second time, as I was attracted to her. But she bit my finger. I regret what I did. I have faced the punishment meted out by the police and the court for my act."
In cases where the accused molests or insults the modesty of a woman by way of obscene acts or by means of words, gesture, or acts that are intended to insult the modesty and dignity of a woman, he shall be punished under the following sections.
Under Section 294 the obscene act must cause annoyance. The annoyance should be done in a public place and cause mental harassment. A person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.
- Section 509 of IPC, comes into effect when there is an intention to insult the modesty of any woman by the offender by uttering any word, making any sound or gesture or by exhibiting any object, with the intention that such word or such sound be heard, or that such gesture or object be seen by such a woman, or by intruding upon the privacy of such a woman. The punishment can be simple imprisonment for a year, or fine, or both.
- Section 354 of IPC intensifies the punishment up to three years, if the guilty has touched the victim's body.
- Under the local charges, the guilty are sent to the railway court and fined up to Rs 1,200.