Delhi

HC issues notice to Centre on harassment complaint by officer

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre on a petition by a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who has complained of sexual harassment against the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), claiming that the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in her case was not properly constituted.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani also issued notice to BPR&D while posting the case for further hearing on June 25.

In the meantime, the High Court asked if the parties involved, being very senior officers of a uniformed force, could attempt to resolve the issue on their own.

Proceedings under way

The High Court’s direction came on a plea by the senior IPS officer who said proceedings in her complaint are under way before the ICC constituted by BPR&D.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, representing the senior IPS officer, argued that the petition was only concerned with the constitution of the members of the ICC, which was constituted by an order of May 21, this year.

ICC members

Ms. John contened that members of the ICC are subordinate in rank to the Director General against whom the sexual harassment complaint has been made.

This, Ms. John submitted, was in the teeth of a verdict of judgments of the High Court.

She explained that an internal complaints committee must not comprise members who are subordinate in rank to the person who is subject matter of the complaint before such committee.

“This, it is submitted, vitiates the very constitution of the ICC and all proceedings being conducted before it; and is against the principles of justice and fair play,” Ms. John argued.

In the meantime, Centre’s counsel Monika Arora suggested that considering that both the complainant and the person against whom ICC proceedings are pending, are very senior officers of a uniformed force, an attempt be made to resolve the issues that have arisen.

Ms. John also did not oppose the suggestion. “Accordingly, counsel may attempt resolution of the matter, if possible; and report on the next date of hearing,” Justice Bhambhani said.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 11:24:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hc-issues-notice-to-centre-on-harassment-complaint-by-officer/article34956829.ece

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