The Dharmadhikari committee, which was constituted by the Maharashtra government in 2010 to suggest measures to curb atrocities against women, in its interim reports has recommended the state to frame a policy to tackle “vulgar activities”on social networking sites such as Facebook. Amongst several other recommendations, it has also sought a complete ban on dance bars.
The interim reports were submitted to the Bombay High Court on Monday during the hearing of a PIL filed by Help Mumbai Foundation, seeking enhanced measures to ensure safety and security of women. Last week, Justice A S Oka and Justice G S Kulkarni had issued a notice to the state Home department asking it to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for failing to implement the recommendations of the panel.
The state government on Monday informed the court that it had extended the tenure of the committee till November 30 and submitted the fourth and fifth interim reports to the court. In its fourth interim report, dated September 6, 2013, the committee held social networking websites responsible for rising divorce cases, atrocities on women, and “fuelling violent tendencies among the youth”.
“Vulgar activities carried out through Facebook, mobile and computer, social networking sites need to be tackled urgently, because it has been observed on a global scale that divorces are on the rise in marriages taking place through Facebook. And through that medium, atrocities against women are also on the rise. Such sites fuel violent tendencies among the youth and as a result, it has been observed, that there is a rise in offences against women and unsecured conditions. Not only that, criminal tendencies in children too are increasing because of this,” the committee stated.
In its fifth interim report, it has recommended a complete ban on bar dancers saying that there was a drop in cases of crimes against women when the state government’s ban was in force, before the Supreme Court held it unconstitutional in 2012.
Among the 22 recommendations in its fourth report and six in the fifth report , the panel has suggested that in order to ensure effective implementation of the anti-dowry law, a bride must at the time of registration of marriage state under oath whether or not dowry was sought and whether the gifts and cash received by her have been kept in her name.