Probe ‘Motive’ Of Sexual Harassment Complaints Filed Against Public Servants Before Registering Cases Against Them, Says MP HC [Read Order]
‘It is the duty of the Investigating Officer to investigate thoroughly and reach to the motive for which the complaint has been filed against the public servant’
While quashing a ‘sexual harassment’ complaint made against a public servant, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that harassment of the public servant on pretext of false complaint at the instance of or in hands of those who were restrained by him for committing illegal and unauthorized act, is anathema to the Rule of Law.
Justice Anand Pathak observed that in such cases it is the duty of the Investigating Officer to investigate thoroughly and reach to the motive for which the complaint has been filed against the public servant.
In this case, on a plea by Junior Engineer in Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited, the high court had come to the conclusion that a false complaint to settle the score and exert pressure complainant suffered electricity disconnection and when officers tried to disconnect the electricity connection, then she made a false complaint to settle the score and exert pressure.
In this context, the court said that it is the duty of the Investigation, Prosecution and Competent Criminal Court to look into the allegations objectively while considering the background of the case and not in a routine manner.
The court observed that when a complainant is restrained by the public authority to commit any illegal act and with motive to overcome such situation, any complaint under Section 354 of IPC or like nature has been filed against the public servant, then it is the duty of the Investigating Officer to investigate thoroughly and reach to the motive for which the complaint has been filed against the public servant.
“Investigation, prosecution and criminal Court must apply their mind objectively in the facts and circumstances of the case about such false and frivolous complaints filed at the instance of disgruntled elements of society who intimidate the Govt. officers to perform their official duties in the State of M.P. Similarly to avoid payment of electricity dues or to get the electricity connection restored (unauthorizedly directly through the electricity pole) and if any officer reminds the person for his duties to pay electricity dues then result comes in such form of false complaints. Therefore, Investigation (Police) Prosecution (Govt. Prosecutor) and Competent Criminal Court must take into accounts such facts before proceedings with the registration of case or prosecution of the case,” the court said.
The court then quashed the complaint observing that it suffers from mischief, falsehood and vexatious litigation.