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Twelve women from abroad move MP HC against Gundecha brothers accused of sexual harassment

Photo used for representational purpose only.

Photo used for representational purpose only.

Twelve women from abroad have filed an intervening application in the Madhya Pradesh High Court's principal bench in Jabalpur, seeking action against the Gundecha brothers of Bhopal-based Dhrupad Sansthan over allegations of sexual harassment against them.

Those who have filed the intervening applications (IAs) the previous day were once students of the Dhrupad Sansthan, who are now in the United States, Sweden, Canada, Poland, Spain, Austria and Germany.

The complainants, too, have alleged that they were sexually harassed by the famous Gundecha siblings the late Ramakant Gundecha, Umakant Gundecha and Akhilesh Gundecha, who plays pakhawaj, the women's counsel Dhruv Varma told PTI.

The IA has been filed in support of an inquiry report of an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which investigated the sexual harassment allegations against the Gundechas of the Dhrupad Sansthan, a UNESCO-accredited institution after the accusations surfaced on social media in 2020, Mr. Varma said.

The Dhrupad Sansthan had set up the Internal Complaints Committee on September 5, 2020, to probe into allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against the Gundecha brothers on social media by a group known as 'Dhrupad Family Europe', Mr. Varma said.

The panel set up under provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act) heard the complaints and subsequently gave its report on February 23, 2021, with certain adverse remarks and recommendations against the Gundecha brothers, Mr. Varma added.

After the report found them at fault, the Gundechas moved the Madhya Pradesh high court challenging the findings by filing a writ petition making ICC a respondent. The hearing of the writ petition is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, Mr. Varma said.

When PTI contacted Umakant Gundecha (63) for a reaction on the IA, he said, "No comments, please. The matter is being heard by the honourable court. We have full faith in the judiciary."

The High Court has restrained all the parties in the case from going to the media (for publicity), he said. He said their brother Ramakant died on November 18, 2019. Umakant Gundecha admitted that allegations of sexual harassment have been levelled against him as well.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 2:05:58 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/twelve-women-from-abroad-move-mp-hc-against-gundecha-brothers-accused-of-sexual-harassment/article65567654.ece