Observing that unwelcome touch in the public transport is the most common sexual assault experienced by every woman commuting by public transport, but goes unreported, a special court has sentenced a 33-year-old man to three years in jail for molesting a blind woman and her niece and imposed a fine of Rs. 30,000 on him.
It is said that such type of sexual assault is ignored by women thinking that there is no likelihood of coming across the same assailant after the journey. “Hence, almost all such assaults go unreported,” it said.
The court found Mohsin Chougule, who was commuting in the handicap compartment without a disability certificate, guilty of sexually assaulting the two victims in the handicap compartment of the city’s local. The woman and her niece had testified in court and given a detailed account of the incident in which the man touched and pressed their breast while they were preparing to alight at Kurla railway station. A disabled co-commuter, who had caught Chougule when he tried to flee and helped the two take him to the police station, was also deposed as a witness in the case.
Quoting Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, special judge AD Deo said in her judgement, “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear”. It ordered Rs. 10,000 each as compensation to the women stating that one was a minor and the other a blind person and both hence, vulnerable.
The two had told the court that on Aug 8, 2017, between 10.30 and 11.30 am they were in a train from Badlapur to CST to attend a program organized by the National Association for the Blind, when the incident took place. They were preparing to alight at Kurla, when the man, who was standing at the door, first molested the niece and then her aunt. While the minor thought the touch could be due to rush, her aunt raised an alarm and slapped the man. She too complained of being inappropriately touched. The man was beaten by other commuters and then taken to the police station.
The court also sentenced him to one-year jail for commuting in a compartment reserved for disabled persons under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act. It also imposed a fine of Rs. 5,000 under the Act. The sentence will run concurrently.