New Delhi: Men indulging in voyeurism infringe on women's fundamental right to privacy, a Delhi court has observed while sending a youth to jail for a year on that count.
Stressing the need for zero tolerance to crime against women, it also asked the government to formulate policies to sensitise the youth towards gender equality.
The court made the observation while sending a 19-year- old youngster to one year in jail for peeping inside a lavatory which was being used by a woman, holding him guilty of the offence of voyeurism under section 354C of the IPC.
"Voyeurism is a ridiculous form of enjoyment for men but a mental torture for women. Men who indulge in such enjoyment do not seem to realise that they are infringing on fundamental right to privacy of the woman's body. Due to such offenders, women do not feel safe inside such places where they would usually expect not to be observed.
"It seems that even behind the closed door of a lavatory, the women's right to privacy is at stake. Zero tolerance to the crime against women is the need of the hour," Metropolitan Magistrate Susheel Bala Dagar said.
The court, however took a lenient view towards the convict after he admitted to his guilt and apologised, saying the sentence should not only be a deterrent but also reformative.
"He has prayed for leniency saying that he apologised to the complainant and is now showing remorse for his conduct," it said while also directing him to compensate the victim with Rs 10,000.
"The convict must be awarded such a sentence, which discourages other like-minded people of the society from such offences against woman. The court has to keep in mind that the purpose of sentence is not only deterrent but also reformative," it said.
The court, however, made stern observations about crimes against women, saying a societal change was required through education and awareness to curb such offences.
"There is a need for formulation and implementation of policies by the government to create sensitisation of masses, more so, the youth in schools and colleges towards the need for gender equality and awareness about laws and punishments for offences related to crime against women," it said.
According to prosecution, on August 23, 2013, the accused peeped inside the toilet which was being used by the victim.