Jarkiholi case: HC stays action against Bengaluru police commissioner

The Karnataka high court on Thursday stayed proceedings against Bengaluru police commissioner and two other senior officers for allegedly delaying registration of a FIR against former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi in an alleged sexual harassment case.
Ramesh Jarkiholi was forced to resign as a minister in March when Kalahalli lodged a complaint of sexual harassment and exploitation against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leader. (ANI)
Ramesh Jarkiholi was forced to resign as a minister in March when Kalahalli lodged a complaint of sexual harassment and exploitation against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leader. (ANI)
Updated on Nov 26, 2021 12:22 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Bengaluru

The Karnataka high court on Thursday stayed proceedings against Bengaluru police commissioner and two other senior officers for allegedly delaying registration of a first information report (FIR) against former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi in an alleged sexual harassment case.

A single judge bench of Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar said the FIR was indeed registered after the victim came forward and gave FIR through her lawyer. “Investigation is completed and the final report is ready. It is not filed because of an interim order issued by the high court … It appears that the complainant is not aware of all these proceedings and in these circumstances investigation against petitioners as ordered by the magistrate, is not proper. Therefore till next date operation of the impugned order stands stayed,” said the bench.

Adarsh R Iyer, who filed a private complaint in a lower court, said he approached a police station to file a complaint against the officers on March 17 for the delay but no action was taken. Subsequently, he unsuccessfully took up the matter with deputy police commissioner (central) MN Anuchet on April 1.

“The delay from the officers to file an FIR (against the minister) based on the complaint of social activist Dinesh Kallahalli amounts to a case under Section 166A (public servant disobeying direction under the law) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). I approached the court seeking action against officers under this section as police did not respond to my complaints,” Iyer said.

In their petition in the high court, Pant, Anuchet, and B Maruti, the police station in charge, argued that the lower court passed the order without mentioning whether Iyer’s allegations would amount to action against the officers. The plea said an FIR is registered based on the complaint given by the victim.

“The impugned order passed by the magistrate is contrary to law, facts and material available on record and as such the magistrate has slipped into an error, resulting in grave miscarriage of justice to the petitioners,” the petition stated.

Jarkiholi was forced to resign as a minister in March when Kalahalli lodged a complaint of sexual harassment and exploitation against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leader. Kalahalli withdrew the complaint within five days. He claimed he was distressed by the allegation that he had lodged the complaint for money. Police did not register an FIR saying the woman, who was allegedly harassed, has to appear before them. They subsequently dropped the investigation.

On March 11, then home minister and now chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team to probe the case. The woman later filed a complaint through her lawyers, as police insisted that an FIR will be filed only based on her complaint.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021