The Delhi Police on Friday opened a preliminary inquiry into the charges of sexual harassment made by a former law intern against a retired Supreme Court judge, a day after the former dean of the Delhi University’s Faculty of Law filed a complaint.
On her blog of November 6, the victim alleged that a few other interns were also harassed by some other judges.
“The judgment by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, mandating registration of an FIR on information about a cognisable offence, permits a preliminary inquiry in certain cases, including matters reported more than three months after commission of an offence. In accordance with the Supreme Court’s directive, we have initiated the proceedings and the inquiry will be summed up in a week,” a police officer said.
The police would reach out to the former intern to record her statement. “The Supreme Court has also set up a committee of three judges to probe the charges, and the complainant will depose before it on November 18,” the officer said.
The Supreme Court’s November 11 ruling allows preliminary inquiry in certain cases.
“While protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time-bound and should not exceed seven days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry,” the judgment said.
However, Professor S.N. Singh, former dean of the Faculty of Law, who lodged the complaint with the Tilak Marg police on Thursday, said it was evident from the former intern’s blog that she did not report the incident because it involved a then sitting judge. “Also, the offence alleged is cognisable. In such circumstances, a preliminary inquiry is not required,” he said.
Citing the ruling, Prof. Singh has sought immediate registration of an FIR, pointing out that the offence alleged came under Sections 354, 354-A and 354-B and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.