Kerala excise commissioner Rishiraj Singh on Sunday said that a man who stares at a woman for over 14 seconds can be booked, giving rise to a debate in the state, as well as Twitteraite to troll the officer.
He also urged women to carry self-protection item like pepper-spray or a knife in their bag, in case of any incident where they have to defend themselves until the police arrive.
“There are sections in law to jail a man for annoyingly staring at a woman for 14 seconds. Please use it (the provisions in the law), if it is the case,” Rishiraj Singh said.
Singh currently the Excises Commissioner in Kerala made the statement while addressing students at an Independence Day speech in Kochi.
While Mr Singh’s words drew varied reactions on social media, Kerala Sports Minister E P Jayarajan termed them as “irritating”.
“The remarks are irritating. If a bureaucrat makes remarks which are not in law, certainly the minister concerned will examine it and necessary steps will be taken,” he told reporters.
Supreme Court lawyer K V Dhananjaya termed it a “mindless” statement to make. “There is no such provision in any law of this country and there cannot be such a mindless provision of law in any other country of the world. Period.”
Mr. Singh’s comments drew humorous reactions on social media, with jokes such as — how a man who went to see a woman at her home following a marriage proposal ended up in jail for staring at her for more than 14 seconds.
“I don’t know from where he got this piece of information. He is trying to quote a law that is non-existent,” Jayarajan said.
“There is no provision to book anyone for mere staring. If a man with his words, gestures or acts intends to insult the modesty of a woman, he can be booked under Section 509 of IPC,” said senior advocate CP Udayabhanu.
“What about men who wear sunglasses,” tweeted a user.