SIX DAYS after Marine Drive Police filed a chargesheet against a 56-year-old senior Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) officer for allegedly sexually harassing his subordinate, a 30-year-old woman, the Bombay High Court Tuesday quashed the FIR after the accused and victim settled their dispute.
In its October 17 order, the high court, while quashing the FIR, observed, “Pending investigations, the parties to the application have settled their dispute amicably and in pursuance of an understanding arrived between them, filed the petition for quashing subject criminal case/FIR by consent.”
Earlier, the woman in her statement to the police had said that the IRSE officer has been harassing her since December 2018. She had also told police that the officer would touch her inappropriately on the pretext of shaking hands. She had also told police that the officer would stalk her with the help of CCTV cameras installed on the office premises.
On the basis of her statement, police had registered a case under sections 354 (A) (sexual harassment), 354 (D) (stalking) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of the woman) of the Indian Penal Code on September 7.
During the investigation, police recorded the statements of four employees, who confirmed the sexual harassment charges. Their statements, police said, were attached in the chargesheet, running over 150 pages and was submitted at Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court in CST on October 11.
“Of the four witnesses, two statements were of female employees, who said that the 30-year-old was sexually harassed. She would often go to them after the incident, cry and confide,” an investigator said, adding that the two witnesses had also claimed that the IRSE officer would stalk them as well.
Police had also attached copies of the complaint made by the 30-year-old woman to the chief secretary, their internal committee and the complaint application made to different units of Mumbai police.
Six days after the chargesheet was submitted, the High Court quashed the FIR observing that the complainant had submitted an affidavit, in which she has given “no objection” for quashing and setting aside the subject criminal case/FIR.
The court also observed that cost needs to be imposed on the petitioner for using police and judicial mechanism for settling their personal dispute. “Accordingly, the petition is allowed….subject to payment of costs of Rs 10,000 by the petitioner to the Tata Memorial Hospital,” it said.
A former IPS officer-turned-advocate Y P Singh said investigators can appeal to a higher court. “But recently Supreme Court has passed an order in which it said that if the two parties have resolved the issue among themselves then the matter shouldn’t be pursued,” he said.
When contacted, the complainant confirmed that the case has been quashed. “I have been through a lot these days. I do not want to talk about the issue,” she said.