Within days of a trainee woman IAS officer posted on Facebook about the insensitive judiciary after she filed a case of sexual harassment, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to write to the MP high court’s registrar to take cognisance of the matter.
Health minister and cabinet spokesperson Narottam Mishra informed about the decision while briefing the media on Tuesday.
Riju Bafna, a 2014 batch trainee IAS officer, had alleged humiliation by a judicial magistrate and a lawyer during the recording of her statement in a sexual harassment case that she filed against an official of the state human rights panel.
The minister said that representatives of the state government had acted promptly when informed about the matter by the woman officer.
The collector, he said, acted on her complaint and ensured that the aayogmitra of the MP human rights commission, who had allegedly sent obscene messages to her, was removed from the position.
Mishra said that since the complaint pertained to the events inside a courtroom, the judiciary was better suited to take action. “The matter was discussed in the cabinet and the state government will write to the registrar of the MP high court to take cognisance of the matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bafna put out another message on her Facebook wall on Tuesday stating that the issue was not just about her but about the general lack of women-friendly procedures in sexual harassment cases.
She also praised the district judge, Seoni and said that he was taking measures to ensure that such incidents were not repeated for those who came to seek justice in good faith.
“I hope this incident serves as a trigger to further the women-friendly court procedures across the country,” she wrote in her post.
District Bar Association of Seoni demands inquiry
The district bar association of Seoni has sent memoranda to the state bar association, registar MP high court, collector, SP and district judge, Seoni, demanding an impartial inquiry into the entire incident.
District bar association president Surendra Nath Shukla told HT, “We demand an impartial inquiry into the incident. The lawyer present in the court was there in connection with his case. He had nothing to do with Riju Bafna’s deposition. However, when the officer asked the lawyer to leave the court, the lawyer only protested that she had no reason to talk to him in this manner. The lawyer then left the court,” he said.