KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday directed SSPs to ensure that legal action that is not limited to registration of FIRs will be taken in cases of sexual harassment.
The direction came on a woman’s petition against her harassment at the Frere Hall. Tahira Bibi said that some men had used passed abusive comments when she and other women went to the Frere Hall for a walk.
She said that after the police intervened, the men first apologised, but then they continued harassing them directly and indirectly with the help of other men. Her counsel Qadir Hussain Khan said that even though there is a law against harassment, his client was subjected to such behaviour because no action was being taken by the police.
The SHC’s single bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that the court has already passed an order about women’s protection in public places.
He said the provincial police chief has been directed to tell the court about the mechanisms in place for the purpose and about the actions being taken against those violating the relevant law.
The court said that it may not be practical to deploy police in every street, but proper patrolling can be ensured in public places where women normally walk or gather. The bench directed all the SSPs to submit reports on the protection of women against harassment in public places. It also directed the relevant police officer to ensure deployment of two constables at the Frere Hall. Justice Panhwar said the relevant SSP should ensure that legal action is not limited to the registration of FIR. He added that legal action will be taken against the incharge of the relevant police station if any negligence in initiating legal proceedings is found. The high court directed the Sindh advocate general, the South SSP and others to file their comments on the petition, and adjourned the hearing until December 21.