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BPRD Not Constituted ICC Properly to Inquire Sexual Harassment Complaint: HC Notice to Centre

File photo of the Delhi High court.

File photo of the Delhi High court.

The high court was told that the constitution of the ICC was challenged on the ground that all its members are subordinate in rank to the Director General against whom the sexual harassment complaint has been made.

The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Centre on a plea complaining that the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD) has not properly constituted the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to inquire into the allegation of sexual harassment against its Director General. The high court was told that the constitution of the ICC was challenged on the ground that all its members are subordinate in rank to the Director General against whom the sexual harassment complaint has been made. A vacation bench of Justice Anup J Bhambhani issued notice to the Union of India and the Bureau of Police Research & Development and sought their response. " Issue notice. Let a short affidavit be filed on or before the next date of hearing, with advance copy to counsel for the petitioner. No direction is being given at this stage for filing a detailed counter affidavit," the judge said The high court also suggested that in the meantime, counsel may attempt resolution of the matter, if possible, and report on the next date of hearing on June 25.

The high court was told that the complainant is a Senior Officer of the Indian Police Service (AGMUT Cadre), who is presently on deputation with the BPRD under the Ministry of Home Affairs and has made a complaint alleging sexual harassment against the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research & Development. Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, told the court that proceedings in the complaint made are underway before the Internal Complaints Committee constituted by the Bureau. The lawyer submitted that the limited challenge brought by way of the present petition is to order dated May 21, 2021 issued by the concerned officer of the Bureau constituting the ICC on the ground that all the members of the ICC are subordinate in rank to the Director General against whom the sexual harassment complaint has been made. "This is in the teeth of a verdict of a coordinate Bench of this court in Rashi vs. Union of India, which mandates that an internal complaints committee must not comprise members who are subordinate in rank to the person who is subject matter of the complaint before such committee," John submitted adding that this vitiates the very constitution of the ICC and all proceedings being conducted before it and is against the principles of justice and fair play.

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first published:June 24, 2021, 18:22 IST