The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Telangana government and police in the case of alleged suicide of a Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) employee in October 2019. The court has asked the state government, police and others to respond to a plea seeking the transfer of the investigation from the Telangana police to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).
The 33-year-old woman officer of BHEL had allegedly died by suicide over alleged harassment by a Deputy General Manager and six other colleagues.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to the state, Telangana Police and others seeking their replies on the petition filed by the mother of the 33-year-old woman.
"Issue notice, returnable within three weeks," the bench said, adding, "Liberty is granted to serve on the standing counsel for the state of Telangana".
The plea, filed through advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, has alleged that the woman was forced to die by suicide in October last year as she was "sexually harassed" and "mentally tortured" by a superior officer and some other office colleagues at Hyderabad.
The plea also stated that the state police have not yet arrested the accused, and no chargesheet has been filed despite the lapse of over eight months.
It has sought the top court's direction to BHEL to "immediately initiate appropriate enquiry under applicable departmental rules and also under the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013" against the accused persons regarding the woman's death in a time bound manner and under the court's supervision.
"There is another shocking attempt of Telangana Police to blame the unfortunate suicide of deceased to her alleged mental illness despite the fact that her employer BHEL has categorically deposed that no sign of any mental illness was shown by her at her workplace," the plea alleged.
"The petitioner herein, being an aggrieved mother, is seeking justice for her daughter," it said, adding that the woman who belonged to Madhya Pradesh had joined BHEL in July 2009.
Referring to an alleged suicide note of the woman and her last telephonic conversation with her sister, the plea claimed that it categorically establishes that some of her office colleagues had subjected her to harassment due to which she was forced to die by suicide.
The plea alleged that the state police is not conducting a fair investigation in the case and thus, the probe should be transferred to the CBI or any other independent central agency.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional suppport to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.