A lady medical officer who was forced to share accommodation with a male officer will get access to information on how her complaints of gender discrimination and misbehaviour by superiors were handled by a paramilitary force, the Central Information Commission has ruled.
The commission has held that gender discrimination amounts to violation of the lady officer’s human rights, and the Central Reserve Police Force cannot ask for exemption from the RTI Act on grounds of security. A lady doctor with the CRPF, Dr Asha Singh, had accused her superiors of harassing her and wanted to know how her complaints of discrimination and misbehaviour were being dealt with.
“In this case, the following question numbers… in her original application are clearly allegations of gender discrimination resulting in unjust and unfavourable conditions of work, and therefore alleging human rights violation,” a three member bench of the central information commission chaired by its chief, Wajahat Habibullah held in its decision.
One of the eight questions that were allowed by the commission relates to the action against a CRPF commandant, who, allegedly misbehaved with her when she asked for a separate accommodation since she was the only lady officer in the battalion.
“I was forced to reside with a male officer in the same house, when there was another house lying vacant,” she asked.
Dr Singh had also questioned why she was repeatedly posted in all male battalions which did not have any other female personnel and compelled to visit companies located 100-200 km which did not have any health infrastructure and forced to attend late night parties in the officer’s mess where drinks were served.
The CRPF is one of the 22 security organisations like the Intelligence Bureau and the Directorate of Enforcement exempted from the RTI Act, unless the question relates to allegations of corruption or human rights violations.
The CIC ruling opens the doors for people to seek information from these organisations if they can establish they have been discriminated against, on grounds such as sex, language, religion or community.