A Codified Law for Anti-Harassment Squads
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Anti-harassment squads (Anti-Romeo Squads); like those which have been deployed in various parts of the country(currently in Uttar Pradesh by CM Adityanath's order) are not established or governed by any legislation. It is a discretionary use of power by the Executive.
While the objective of such squads is to prevent eve-teasing and harassment, it is being used against couples, boys and girls interacting in the public; and also against family members of opposite genders. In short, it is being used to prevent men and women, boys and girls from publicly interacting with each other. It is being used to enforce personal and spiritual ideology- moral policing. This is a gross infringement of an individual's freedom of association with people- it is a violation of human rights.
While this misuse is horrific and frustrating, it is worsened by the fact that people with no police powers are taking it up as a divine calling to stop men and women from interacting with each other in public. To quote a member of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (refer to embedded video), "There is no need for permission to do good. God favours such a person." To quote another person, "We have no problem with the relationship they hold. We don't want them to spoil the streets and make them impure." Their ideology follows that men and women should not interact in public. Ideologues similar to these act arbitrarily according to their own whims and fancies.
The power to regulate social interaction and exercise police powers is purely a function of the Government. This regulation is also subservient to an individual's rights under the Constitution. The sheer abuse of the power given through Executive orders is unacceptable. The power cannot be used by individuals for moral policing and vigilantism. It needs to be regulated by proper, codified Central or State law which respects our fundamental rights.
This petition is for enacting a law governing and regulating such an exercise of police power and establishing strict boundaries for the same.
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