The Supreme Court has pulled up the Telangana government for being insensitive to the plea of the mother of a woman finance officer in Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) who allegedly committed suicide due to repeated sexual harassment at her workplace.
On Friday, as the Telangana government counsel sought a four-week adjournment, a bench comprising Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and S. Ravindra Bhat said: “We deprecate the request made by the counsel for the State of Telangana for an adjournment in this case and that too for a period of four weeks."
The bench observed that to avoid embarrassment to the state, it would refrain from recording the reasons mentioned across the Bar for that adjournment. “The reasons stated indicates the insensitivity with which the investigation is progressing in this case. We say no more for the time being", said the bench.
The top court also directed the Home Secretary of the state government to personally look into this aspect and issue appropriate directions to ensure compliance with its direction. “Registry is directed to forward a copy of this order to the Home Secretary, State of Telangana for immediate compliance through email/on-line", noted the bench.
The top court has posted the matter for further hearing in the week commencing from December 14.
The plea was filed by the mother of the 33-year-old victim through advocate Alok Srivastava.
Srivastava had argued that the victim was a bright, young and intelligent finance professional, who joined BHEL in July 2009 and served it till her last breath, October 17, 2019, with utmost dedication. “There was not even an iota of complaint against her work or against her mental behaviour during her long association with BHEL. However, she was sexually harassed, molested, stalked, mentally tortured and attempted to be raped by her own supervisor and by her own office colleagues at BHEL, Hyderabad, which forced her to ultimately commit suicide", said the plea.
The petitioner claimed that the suicide note dated October 16, 2019 of the deceased and her last telephonic conversation (on the same day) with her sister, categorically establish that her own supervisor and office colleagues subjected her to extreme level of sexual, physical and mental harassment and attempted to rape her, due to which she was forced to commit suicide.
The plea contended that the main accused is a native of Telangana, whereas the deceased was a Hindi speaking outsider, belonging to Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh). “Hence, there is a strong apprehension in the mind of the Petitioner that the Telangana police have a strong linguistic and regional bias in favour of the accused and against the deceased", said the plea.