HC poser on transfer of sexual harassment complaint

A sexual harassment complaint lodged by a woman Superintendent of Police against her superior in the rank of Inspector General last year took a new turn with the Madras High Court wanting to know whether the internal inquiry as well as criminal investigation can be transferred either to Delhi or any other neighbouring State.

Justices Vineet Kothari and C.V. Karthikeyan came up with the suggestion since the complainant had reservations over successive officers appointed as the chairpersons of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) constituted to inquire into her complaint and had alleged that the accused, being a senior officer, was exerting his influence on the committee.

In order to find a permanent solution to the issue, the judges asked Advocate General Vijay Narayan to ascertain from the government by August 27 if it was agreeable to transfer the ICC inquiry and the criminal investigation as well to Delhi or some neighbouring State. Though Delhi would be ideal, the complainant and accused might face trouble in travelling, the judges said.

When they wanted to know whether the complainant was agreeable to the transfer, her counsel V. Selvaraj replied in the positive and said, it would be better if the inquiry was held in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. After taking note of it, Justice Kothari said, such a course would be better since both the complainant as well as the accused were Indian Police Service officers.

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