New Delhi: A woman Research Officer with the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine has got relief from the Delhi High Court which has directed the Government to constitute a “proper” committee to inquire into her accusation of sexual harassment by a senior colleague.
The woman officer, working in the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) under the Health Ministry, had contended that the sexual harassment committee appointed earlier by Department was headed by a person junior to the accused, which was against the law in this regard.
Aggrieved by non-compliance of guidelines laid down by the apex court in this regard by the Department, she had approached the Central Administrative Tribunal which declined to direct the Government to re-constitute the committee on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
However, the High Court said that it was not “powerless” to direct compliance of the apex court's guidelines.
“If the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction, it does not leave aggrieved without any remedy and she would be entitled to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. It will be appropriate to direct the Government to have Secretary (Department of AYUSH) as Chairperson of sexual harassment committee in place of the officer junior to the accused against whom allegation of sexual harassment has been made,” a Bench of Justices Mool Chand Garg and Anil Kumar said.
The Court said the re-constituted committee would consider the woman officer's complaint in accordance with the guidelines and law laid down by the apex court.
The woman officer had alleged that she was harassed “as she was not succumbing to the evil designs of the Director of the Department of AYUSH who was sexually harassing” her. Earlier, the officer was advised to appear and give her statement before the committee which was constituted following her complaint in 2008, which allegedly acted in biased manner.
She contended that the chairperson of the earlier committee was adviser and other committee members were from Unani Council, which was under the disciplinary and administrative control of the accused.-- PTI