She had been on medical leave for 2 yrs after lodging plaint.
Mumbai: A female assistant police inspector (API) was compelled to remain on medical leave for two years after she lodged a complaint against her superior for alleged sexual harassment by her superior. This came to light during a hearing in the Bombay high court, which has now directed the superintendent of police (SP), Satara (Rural), to inform the IG to constitute a committee to look into the allegations made by the API. The court expressed surprise at the fact that the woman officer had been on leave for two years pending the formation of the panel and chided the authorities for dragging the issue.
The court also asked the API to consider rejoining her duty and not fear any retribution from superiors for making allegations against a senior officer.
A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni was hearing the plea of the officer who had sought dissolution of an internal complaints panel formed by the SP as it had an officer of the rank of the SP well as a junior on the committee. The complainant had claimed that the committee was not constituted as per section 4 of the Sexual Offences at Workplace Act, and hence sought directions for the constitution of a new committee. When the matter came up for hearing, the lawyer for the accused police officer pointed out that there was no sexual harassment and the complaint was merely on a statement made by the officer in a report in another case. The statement was of the woman officer allegedly having an illicit affair with another officer, and hence the complaint of sexual harassment was not valid. However, the court on the insistence of the woman officer held that the averments would be heard by the committee and directed the formation of a new committee as per section 4 of the Act.
The court further chided the police authorities while addressing the current superintendent who was present in court and said that such issues should be dealt with expeditiously and not allowed to linger for two years as it would only increase the legal process and directed the constitution of the new committee within two weeks and disposal of the lady officer’s complaint within two weeks thereafter.
The court directed the woman officer who was also present in court to join duty from the next day albeit at the police station of her choice and permitted the police authorities to conduct her medical test before allowing her to join duty again.