CHENNAI : The first bench, headed by Chief Justice VK Tahilramani, has posted before another bench the hearing on the Public Interest Litigation petition challenging constitution of the internal complaints committee, following a sexual harassment complaint from a woman police officer.When the PIL from K Prem Chand of Choolaimedu came up before the first bench on Friday, the Chief Justice said that she was posting the matter before the bench headed by Justice S Manikumar.
Petitioner alleged that the DGP had constituted a defective panel to protect a senior officer in the DVAC.
He sought to reconstitute the panel by accommodating a member of a non-government organisation keen on protecting the interests of women. His interim prayer is to stay all proceedings pursuant to the constitution of the panel by the DGP on August 17 last. Petitioner also prayed for a direction to the State government to issue circulars to all offices and workplaces coming under its purview to constitute such separate panels.
According to petitioner, the panel was constituted as per the recommendations of the Supreme Court in the Vishaka case on August 13, 1997, to bring down the incidents of sexual harassment at work place. It, however, remained only on paper.The State DGP constituted the panel, following a complaint from a woman SP, who alleged that her higher official was sexually intimidating her.
According to Sec. 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013, the panel should consist of one presiding officer and a minimum of three members, one of whom should be from an NGO or an association committed to the cause of women.
But, the present panel was headed by a police officer, Seema Agrawal, who is the Additional DGP, with certain other top police officers. No one has been drawn from the NGO, petitioner contended.
No presence of NGO
According to Sec. 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013, the panel should consist of one presiding officer and a minimum of three members, one of whom should be from an NGO or an association committed to the cause of women. But in the present panel, no one has been drawn from the NGO