Sexual harassment: TN govt seeks HC to recall order quashing FIR on godman Siva Shankar Baba

The FIR was registered in 2021 after the woman lodged a complaint with police alleging that she was sexually harassed in 2010-11 when she approached him after his son was removed from the school.

Published: 28th October 2022 03:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2022 03:16 PM   |  A+A-

Siva Shankar Baba

File photo of Siva Shankar Baba at CBCID office at Egmore in Chennai. (Photo | Lavanya R, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government moved the Madras High Court with a petition to recall its recent order to quash an FIR on sexual harassment of a student's mother by the self-styled godman Siva Shankar Baba who runs a residential school in the suburbs of Chennai.

The recall petition was filed through additional public prosecutor A Damodharan before the single judge bench of Justice RN Manjula seeking to recall her order dated October 17, 2022.

When the matter was mentioned before a judge on Friday, she agreed to take it up on Monday.

She had passed orders to quash the FIR registered by the Organised Crime Unit (OCU) of CB-CID of Tamil Nadu Police due to a ‘technical flaw’ that a ‘condone delay application’ was not forwarded with the FIR the jurisdictional magistrate since the FIR was filed ten years after the offence occurred.

The recall petition, filed on behalf of the Inspector of OCU, stated that the victim complainant, in a case of sexual offence/offence against women, cannot be expected to be aware of a time period to file a complaint, and that is why section 473 of the CrPC acts as an overriding provision on section 468 of CrPC.

It also noted that the de facto complainant was neither given notice nor heard/given the opportunity to make submissions before allowing the quash petition; and so, it is ‘against the principles of natural justice.

Referring to the failure to send condone delay applied to the magistrate along with the FIR, the petition pointed out that there was no such observation made by the apex court in the Sara Mathew case with regard to a petition under section 473 of CrPC being filed along with the complaint and that it should be forwarded to the Magistrate along with the FIR so that he could apply his mind on both. 

“According to the law laid down in Sarah Mathew case, a petition to condone delay under section 473 of CrPC is only required at the stage of cognizance”, it said.

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In the present case, no police report was forwarded nor such application of mind from the magistrate took place. Therefore, no cognizance can be said to have been taken when FIR was forwarded. As such the observation made by the court may not be sustainable in the eye of the law, the recall petition averred.

It sought the court to recall its order in the exercise of its inherent power under section 482 of CrPC.

The FIR was registered in 2021 after a complaint was lodged by the woman, who was alleged to have been sexually harassed in 2010 -11 by Baba when she approached him after his son was removed from the school. She had lodged the complaint in the wake of a series of child abuse allegations raised against him leading to his arrest.


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