MANGALORE, July 26, 2013
Says she is ‘shocked’ over the conclusions of the inquiry committee
The “clean chit” given by the committee that probed the allegation of sexual harassment against Assistant Commissioner of Police T.R. Jagannath has come in for severe criticism from the complainant, who said the inquiry was done in an unfair manner.
Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar said on Thursday the nine-member committee headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police B.T. Kavita has found no evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment levelled against the ACP by a woman Assistant Sub Inspector on May 23.
The committee arrived at the decision after examining 35 witnesses and 30 documents in 11 sittings, Mr. Kharbikar said, adding the report would be sent to “higher-ups who are looking into the allegation”. The complainant, however, said she had no information about the findings of the inquiry. “I was told that inquiry was over on Friday. When I sought a copy of the report, the member secretary of the committee asked me to come on Monday,” she said.
“It is strange that findings are in the public domain even before issuing me a copy,” the officer said. Reacting to the “clean chit” given to Mr. Jagannath, she said: “I am shocked to hear about the conclusions reached by the committee,” but hastened to add, “I can comment only after seeing the report”.
The woman officer said the inquiry was not conducted in a fair manner. “It was more an inquiry against me than on the allegations (I made).” She said the policemen working with her were asked about her character than that of the officer against whom she levelled charges. She said a notice was sent to her husband who is staying abroad. “I did put in writing before the committee about the harassment of my family members, who are unconnected with this inquiry,” she said.
She also claimed that all members of the committee were not present during the proceedings, she added.
Reacting to the allegation by the complainant that she did not get a copy of the inquiry report, Mr. Kharbikar said the question of giving a copy of the report to the complainant did not arise. “This is an inquiry based on a petition. She (complainant) will be given an endorsement stating that the inquiry had been completed,” Mr. Kharbikar told The Hindu on Thursday. The committee was formed as per the Supreme Court guidelines issued in 1997 to deal with complaints of sexual harassment at workplace.
Mr. Jagannath had gone on leave following the allegation. The woman officer, who did not attend initial sittings fearing arrest in a cheating case filed in Mangalore Rural police station, made her submissions in writing although she secured anticipatory bail.The committee would continue to exist and look into complaints of sexual harassment, Mr. Kharbikar said.
The committee consisted of Assistant Commissioner of Police B.T. Kavita (President), Women Police Inspector K. Kavitha (member secretary), Assistant Administrator in Police Commissioner’s Office Hilda Govias, Section Officer Pauline Mariyappa, Dean School of Social Work Ramila Shekar, Police Inspector Vinay Gaonker, Police Inspector Ramachandra B. Maladevar, Police Sub Inspector Girija and Assistant Police Sub Inspector Nagini.
The findings of the inquiry look contrary to what we have found to be a clear case of sexual harassment at the work place. In these days of transparency, police department should have made the report accessible, at least, to the complainant. We need to go through the proceedings of the inquiry to know how the findings were reached, said Vidya Dinker, Convenor of Forum Against Atrocities on Women.