Former Dean of Delhi University’s Law Faculty has filed a formal complaint before Delhi Police, leaving no room for the Police not to act on the allegations of sexual harassment against the Ex Judge of the Supreme Court. Since the offence complained of falls within the category of cognizable offence, what is required in law is only information about commission of the alleged crime. Since the concept of Locus standi is not applicable in Criminal cases, anyone can approach the Police or Court to set the criminal law in motion. In view of recently delivered Constitution Bench decision in Lalita Kumari, the police is obligated to register an FIR, but in the present case, since the complaint is delayed, the police can conduct a preliminary enquiry into the allegations. The demand for immediate registration can be held off by police taking cue from Lalita Kumari Judgment itself. As per the Judgment which was delivered on the same day the Supreme Court took cognizance of the issue and formed a panel to inquire in to the matter, the category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
(a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
(c) Medical negligence cases
(e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay.
In a similar case reported from Kerala, when it was alleged that a Malayalam actress was harassed in public, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) filed a complaint with Kerala police, forcing police to register FIR and record the statement of actress.
The allegations against the Ex-Judge came into the public domain, when she first reveled the commission of the offence on NUJS Blog which was carried by other websites and finally got the national attention when Times of India carried the story.
The professor’s demand for immediate registration of FIR citing Lalita Kumari under Sections 354(A) and 354(B) along with Section 354 may not be entertained owing to the legal position in this regard. Since the offence alleged falls during the period of pre-enactment of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, the Sections 354 A and 354 B may be ignored by the police. The law is well settled as there cannot be any retrospective application of Penal Statutes.
Whatever the course adopts by police, the professor’s compliant has set the criminal law in motion.