From 2006 to 2016, molestation cases in Bengaluru have witnessed a dramatic rise of 417%. This information has been revealed in a report prepared by the Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru. What is even more worrying is that the conviction rate in molestation cases (under Section 354) is abysmally low. There were a total of 4,241 molestation related complaints filed between the period 2006 and 2016, but convictions were possible in only 16 cases, which gives an extremely low rate of 0.37%.
It may be recalled that Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code deals with cases that involve assault to outrage the modesty of a woman. It includes sexual harassment (354A), use of criminal force with intent to disrobe (354B), voyeurism (354C) and stalking (354D). Such cases were 150 in 2006, but a significant rise has been witnessed in the last 10 years, with cases rising to 776 in 2016. This could be an actual increase in the number of cases and it may also be because more women are nowadays coming forward to register such cases. It can also be a combination of both the factors.
Experts said that the low conviction rate is due to shoddy investigations and reluctance on part of police officials to pursue such cases. The legal system also needs to be spruced up, they said.