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Woman IPS Officer's Sexual Harassment Complaint- "Take Positive Step And Suspend Accused Special DGP": Madras High Court To Govt.

Sparsh Upadhyay
16 March 2021 4:02 PM GMT
Woman IPS Officers Sexual Harassment Complaint- Take Positive Step And Suspend Accused Special DGP: Madras High Court To Govt.
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The Madras High Court on Tuesday (16th March) asked the Tamil Nadu State Government to suspend the Special DGP who has been charged with sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer. Significantly, the Madras High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP, and has decided to monitor the...

The Madras High Court on Tuesday (16th March) asked the Tamil Nadu State Government to suspend the Special DGP who has been charged with sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer.

Significantly, the Madras High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP, and has decided to monitor the investigation into the case itself.

Having perused the Status Report which was filed explaining the progress made in the investigation till date, the Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh noted that the government had placed the second accused (then Chengalpattu SP) in the case under suspension.

However, the Court also noted that Accused number 1 (ex-Spl. DGP) had not been suspended and that he had been kept under compulsory wait.

To this, the Court said,

"Placing an officer under compulsory wait does not attach any stigma to it…The concerned government servant will be entitled for all the service benefits including allowances during this period of compulsory wait. It is, therefore, clear that keeping an officer under compulsory wait can never be construed as a punishment."

Further, noting that A-1 is holding the rank of Special DGP- Law and Order, the Court also noted that the investigation is being conducted by an officer who is in the rank of Superintendent of Police.

The Court made an observation that when such a superior officer who has been kept on a mere compulsory wait, is interrogated by an officer of a subordinate rank, the same will psychologically intimidate the officer from carrying on with the interrogation in a free and fair manner.

"This is where the suspension of A-1 assumes significance. A-1, coming with his official paraphernalia, even though he is kept under compulsory wait, will jeopardize the investigation from being carried out effectively", added the Court.

Therefore, in light of the seriousness of the matter, prima facie evidence and the status report, the Court remarked,

"Taking a positive step by suspending A-1, pending the investigation will bring in more confidence in the perception of the general public that the issue has been taken up with all seriousness and the investigation will progress in a free and fair manner."

Lastly, expressing the hope that the State of Tamil Nadu would consider the sentiments expressed by the Court seriously, the Court directed that further development be reported before the Court and with this, the matter was posted for further hearing on 23rd March 2021.

Background

On 01st March, while taking the suo moto cognizance of the case, 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.

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