The Madras High Court on Friday ordered maintaining status-quo vis-a-vis the proceedings initiated against a suspended Special DGP in a sexual harassment case before the Internal Complaints Committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government earlier.
The State government alleged before the court that the official concerned was adopting tactics to drag the case.
Justice C Saravanan granted the temporary relief for four weeks while passing interim orders on a writ petition from the accused challenging the reports of the panel. Also, the judge directed the government to file its reply by then.
Following a complaint from a woman IPS officer on February 22 this year, who was allegedly sexually harassed by the suspended special DGP, the ICC was formed to inquire into the allegations. The second accused was D Kannan, then SP of Chengalpattu, who had allegedly prevented the woman officer from going to Chennai to lodge a complaint with the DGP on that day. Kannan was also placed under suspension.
In his writ petition, the official alleged that two members of the ICC were biased towards him. It had submitted its report to the government on April 8 without holding enquiry in a proper and unbiased manner.
He prayed the court to quash the proceedings that had been conducted so far by the ICC and order a proper inquiry after following due process of law and in accordance with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.
He claimed most of the witnesses were subordinates to the complainant and they could not depose freely. Hence, he prayed for the transfer of the complainant to some other place. But, this request was also not considered.
Based on the ICC's report, a charge-memo was issued to him on May 31. But, even a copy of the report was not furnished to him.
As such the entire proceedings are vitiated and liable to be struck down, he claimed.
Advocate-General R Shanmugasundaram submitted that the charge-sheet in the case had already been filed. The Supreme Court had also rejected the accused official's plea to transfer the case to some other neighbouring State.
Following an objection from him, one member of the ICC had been shifted out from the panel, he said, adding that the officer was adopting tactics to drag the case.