The doctor, who was terminated from service months after she filed her complaint, termed the suspension as an eyewash and said there was little need for another show cause notice now.
The Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) has suspended its chief administrative officer and issued him a show cause notice following protests against its inaction on a sexual harassment case filed by a doctor working there.
According to a letter, signed by IIM-B Director Pankaj Chandra, the decision was taken on November 29, the same day activists protested along with the complainant outside the elite institute’s campus. The internal communiqué, a copy of which was accessed by The Hindu, was sent on December 4 to all faculty members.
IIM-B, however, refused to comment on the letter or its contents. When contacted, it maintained that the inquiry was still in progress and the management is not willing to comment on the recent developments in the case. “Internal processes are being followed. There is also a legal issue here,” a spokesperson said.
The internal letter informed its faculty that the “Gender Sensitivity Committee has inquired into the complaint and submitted its report”, and that the accused is under suspension, with effect from November 29.
When contacted, the doctor, who was terminated from service months after she filed her complaint, termed the suspension as an eyewash and said there was little need for another show cause notice now, months after a formal inquiry was completed. In fact, the inquiry, by the Gender Sensitivity Committee, was completed in May 2012, and the report submitted to the director in August 2012.
This delay is in violation of the IIM-B’s own rules, which mandate that an inquiry report be submitted within a month of filing of the complaint and the director initiate action within 10 days.
“This is a delaying tactic. The inquiry would have gone into all these matters, so now what is this notice about?” the complainant said. Having filed a written sexual harassment complaint in July 2011 — following two verbal complaints made as early as December 2010 — the doctor pointed out that IIM-B had not made any attempts to contact her or inform her of any action that is taken.
She has been denied access to the inquiry report filed by the Gender Sensitivity Committee, a copy of which, she claims, was given to the accused.
Following the recent protests led by women’s rights organisation Vimochana, which were widely reported in the media, the IIM-B director on Friday met two members of the NGO. Donna Fernandes, who met Mr. Chandra, said they pointed out that the actions of the institute were in violation of several Supreme Court guidelines on several counts. “For instance, we pointed out that terminating her service even as her complaint was pending was the first violation,” she emphasised. “We demand her reinstatement, action on the inquiry report, and action against the official.”
The complainant claimed that several verbal complaints had been made by other female colleagues against the accused. She pointed out that even in the past, sexual harassment complaints have not been taken seriously. “I get calls from my colleagues all the time, commending me for showing the courage to oppose this. They are afraid for their jobs, which is why they are keeping quiet,” she said.