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Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Woman IPS Officer- "Issue Sensitive; Maturity & Restraint Required": Madras HC Expresses Satisfaction With Investigation Progress

Sparsh Upadhyay
13 March 2021 2:00 PM GMT
Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Woman IPS Officer- Issue Sensitive; Maturity & Restraint Required: Madras HC Expresses Satisfaction With Investigation Progress
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The Madras High Court on Friday (12th March) expressed its satisfaction with the manner in which the investigation has progressed in suo moto case related to alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP. Noting that the issue involved is 'quite sensitive', a Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that it was required that the...

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The Madras High Court on Friday (12th March) expressed its satisfaction with the manner in which the investigation has progressed in suo moto case related to alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP.

Noting that the issue involved is 'quite sensitive', a Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that it was required that the matter be handled with a lot of maturity, and that both the State, as well as the Court, must maintain neutrality.

Background

On 01st March, the Madras HC had taken suo moto case related to alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP, and decided to monitor the investigation into the case itself.

The Court had minced no words in criticizing the alleged incident and also expressed displeasure at the manner in which the Special DGP allegedly used his contacts and power to prevent the victim officer from even filing a complaint against him.

The Judge had expressed his concern regarding the fact that if an officer holding a high rank in Indian Police Services can be harassed and be forced to not file a complaint, what must be the state of ordinary women who are victims of such acts.

Further, yesterday, the Court was hearing a plea seeking issuance of directions to the CB-CID to effectively conduct the investigation in the matter, duly monitored by the HC.

The Plea further sought a direction to submit a periodical status report on the progress made in the investigation before this Court and to complete the investigation as expeditiously as possible.

State's submission

The State Government submitted before the HC that the Investigation Officer had already recorded the Section 161 statements of nearly 60 witnesses and that the entire Case Diary was also circulated.

The State Govt. also submitted that the issue was taken very seriously by it and that the investigation was proceeding on the right lines and that no stone will be left unturned, in this regard.

Further, it was also submitted that a detailed status report explaining the progress made in the investigation, would be filed before the Court during the next date of hearing.

Court's observation

The Court noted that on March 01, it had restrained the political parties and media from indulging in any discussion, touching upon the merits of this case.

Further, a representation was made before the Court to the effect that such protection need not be given to the accused persons and therefore, a request was made to modify the earlier direction and to permit the use or exchange of the name of the accused persons.

However, holding that the restrain would continue to operate, the Court said,

"The issue on hand does not confine itself to two individuals and there is a larger issue that requires an effective solution, and the interest of the entire police force in Tamil Nadu has to be taken into consideration."

The Court also noted that it had placed such restraint as it didn't want a parallel media trial to take place in this case.

"Ultimately, the whole purpose of this Court monitoring this investigation is to find out the truth behind the alleged incident. This Court is satisfied with the manner in which the investigation has progressed in this case, and this Court hopes that it continues in the same spirit, and the investigation is completed as expeditiously as possible," the Court further added.

The Court opined that the effectiveness of a criminal prosecution could be ensured only when it is completed at the earliest possible time and there is a certainty of punishment for the accused person, if found guilty.

Lastly, noting that merely discussing a case from all quarters wouldn't yield the effective results, the Court posted the case for receiving the 'status report' on 16th March 2021.

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