Despite sexual harassment charges, AI staff on duty again

  • Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 19, 2015 20:09 IST

An Air India Express flight purser facing a sexual harassment allegation benched about six months ago has been rostered back on duty even as the in-house probe into the matter is still pending.

The matter came to light when the grounded cabin crew personnel operated a Gulf-bound flight from Calicut on August 15.

According to t he Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, which was passed in 2013, which superceded the Vishaka guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in 1997, every organisation should set up an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to conducts probes into sexual harassment complaints made by women staffers.

In this case, a committee was formed in April but dissolved following complaints of nepotism by the victim. Subsequently, the airline management formed another committee on August 4 to look into the matter.

However, even before the new committee had begun its proceedings in the case, the airline has put the suspended staffer back on flying duty. On July 1, the National Women’s Commission wrote to the Mumbai police to conduct an independent inquiry in the matter and submit a report within 15 days.

The alleged case of sexual harassment took place at the Calicut when a woman flight attendant was on her way to operate a flight out of the airport on February 28. According to the FIR registered at the Karipur police station, the accused allegedly followed the woman staffer and made lewd comments about her make-up and wardrobe.

The airline spokesperson confirmed that the grounded flight purser has been operating flights. “The matter is being investigated upon under the relevant law which also makes it mandatory for the employer to not to disclose any information pertaining to the enquiry to the public in any manner. The management as expected in law is maintaining strict confidentiality. The matter is also sub-judice,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson also added, “The respondent has been taken on duty as investigations are in progress and he has not been found guilty by any court of law or by any forum constituted under any applicable law.”

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