In a first, Justice SM Subramaniam also instructed the Registrar of the Madras High Court that a CCTV camera be installed in his chambers within two weeks.

Install CCTV cameras in senior officials cabins to stop sexual harassment Madras HCRepresentational image
news Court Friday, February 15, 2019 - 07:32

The hearing in the case regarding the alleged sexual harassment of a woman Superintendent of Police by Murugan IPS, the Joint Director of Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) in Tamil Nadu may set a precedent, after the judge recommended that CCTV cameras be installed inside the rooms of all higher officials to avoid complaints.

In his order, Justice S M Subramaniam of the Madras High Court “strongly” recommended to the Chief Secretary to install “CCTV Cameras inside the official Chambers and office rooms of all the higher officials, in order to avoid all such allegations/complaints against the higher officials and to safeguard the interest of women officers and women employees from the offences of sexual harassment.”

However, prior to this, the judge instructed the Registrar (Administration) of the Madras High Court that a CCTV camera be installed in his chambers first within two weeks. As per the Times of India, he is the first judge to do so.
 

Hopefully, this may set a new precedent, as many instances of sexual harassment take place in closed cabins and rooms, giving perpetrators a sense of impunity and assurance that they can get away.

The court was hearing multiple writ petitions filed in the case regarding the sexual harassment of a woman Superintendent in Tamil Nadu by S Murugan. The incident came to light in August 2018, and an FIR was later registered by the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department in September 2018 against Murugan under IPC Sections 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) read with Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.

The court was hearing multiple writ petitions — one filed by Murugan who challenged the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee and the direction to register a criminal complaint by the CBCID Wing of the Police Department. The other three were filed by the survivor — to transfer Murugan to a non-sensitive post outside DVAC pending inquiry, challenging the proceedings of the ICC stating that the incompetence and lack of jurisdiction expressed by the ICC is contrary to law.

The judge reconstituted the ICC and said it can proceed with its inquiry, and that it has to submit its report in two weeks. It also directed the CB-CID to proceed with its investigation.
 

Read: Sexual harassment of woman SP: Madras HC issues notice to DVAC Director

 

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