‘Don’t dismiss molestation accused without inquiry’
The Delhi High Court has criticised the trend of dismissals of employees merely on the basis of complaints of molestation or misbehaviour with women without a proper enquiry and not giving the accused a proper opportunity to defend himself.delhi Updated: May 22, 2012 00:15 IST
The Delhi High Court has criticised the trend of dismissals of employees merely on the basis of complaints of molestation or misbehaviour with women without a proper enquiry and not giving the accused a proper opportunity to defend himself.
The remarks came while the court set aside dismissal of a teacher Suraj Kumar 12 years ago by a school in East Delhi for “misbehaving with girl students”. It ordered a fresh enquiry by the school and government.
“As petitioner was not given an opportunity to cross examine the witnesses, who deposed against him and no opportunity was given to him to examine witnesses in defence, the orders imposing penalty upon the petitioner is liable to be set aside,” ruled a bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice VK Jain.
“It cannot be disputed that an inquiry was necessary, before imposing a major penalty upon the petitioner ..there is no material on record to show that some special procedure for enquiry into complaints of sexual harassment had been prescribed,” said the court.
The court noted that the inquiry was all the more vitiated as he was not given an opportunity to produce witnesses in his defence.
Asking the inquiry committee to submit a fresh report in six months, the court said further inquiry will begin from cross examination of witnesses “through a female assistant of his choice” as it felt that the presence of the teacher might intimidate the witnesses.