Updated: June 25, 2021 9:45:26 am
THE DELHI High Court has issued a notice to the Centre in a petition challenging the constitution of an Internal Complaints Committee set up to look into the sexual harassment complaint made by a senior IPS officer against another senior IPS officer posted with the Bureau of Police Research & Developement (BPRD).
The vacation bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, in the order, also said the counsel “may attempt resolution of the matter, if possible” and report to the court on Friday. The court passed the order after a suggestion was made by Central government standing counsel Monika Arora that since both are “very senior officers of a uniformed force,” an attempt be made to resolve the issues that have arisen. The suggestion was not opposed by Senior Advocate Rebecca John, who represents the complainant.
The complainant officer, in her petition, has said that the ICC constituted on May 21 comprises of members who are subordinate in the rank to the officer against whom the sexual harassment complaint has been made. John argued before the court such action is in teeth of a verdict passed by the High Court which mandates that an ICC must not comprise members who are subordinate in rank to the person who is subject matter of the complaint before it.
Seeking a short affidavit from the Centre and BPRD, the court said no direction is being given at this stage for filing a detailed counter affidavit and listed the case for hearing on Friday.
Pertinently, Section 10 of The Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 states that the ICC or the Local Committee may before initiating an inquiry, “at the request of the aggrieved woman” take steps to settle the matter between her and the person against whom the allegations have been made, through conciliation.
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