SC Refuses To Entertain PILs Seeking FIR Based On #MeToo Revelations
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain PILs filed by two lawyers seeking registration of FIRs based on allegations of sexual misconduct and assault leveled by women across various sectors during the #MeToo movement.
The court has been approached by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, demanding a direction “for taking suo motu action and steps to get records statement of the victim ladies (disclosing their pain upon #MeToo twitter platform) as information within the provision of S. 154 of Cr.P.C. to initiate register Criminal cases/F.I.R. under section 354/375/376 and other of IPC and to prosecute accused persons in accordance of law in the interest of justice (sic)”
He also sought constitution of fast track trial courts for conducting the trial in such cases in a time bound manner, in addition to a direction to the National Commission For Women (NCW) to create a safe platform for women to file complaints while protecting their identity.
Furthermore, he demanded that the NCW be directed to treat the “ #Metoo platform” as a practical source of first information on instances of sexual harassment, to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused.
“So why (Article) 32? If there is a cognizable offence, there are provisions of the Cr. P. C. in that behalf”, remarked the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
“In these instances, high profile people are involved. Several matters are not even going to trial. Now that these women are coming forward and opening their mouths, they should be taken further....”, advanced Mr. Sharma.
“In any case, why should Manohar Lal Sharma come?”, commented Chief Justice Gogoi, indicating that only the aggrieved individual may bring the law into motion, while Justice K. M. Joseph questioned whether the apex court is the appropriate forum in respect of cases where action is not taken.