SCW to summon Speaker Mohanty
Drawing flak from for failing to promptly take up the issue of sexual harassment charge levelled by a lady employee of state assembly against its former Speaker Maheshwar Mohanty, Orissa State Commission for Women on Thursday said it would summon him.
Four days after Orissa Police registered a case of sexual harassment against Mohanty, the Commission took up the case suo motu and a team including its chairperson Namita Panda visited Kuhunda village near Cuttack and recorded the statement of Gayatri Panda, the lady marshal, who had brought the charges against the former Speaker.
"We met Gayatri at her house and recorded her statement. She has named Maheswar Mohanty and others in a written statement to the commission," Panda told PTI adding that the commission would soon summon all including Mohanty who had been named by the assembly employee.
The SCW chairperson said the Commission had no legal difficulties in asking Mohanty to respond to the charges made by the suspended lady marshal. "Mohanty is no more Speaker of the assembly. He is an MLA. Therefore, the SCW is competent to issue summons to him," she said.
She said Gayatri had revealed names of five persons including the former Speaker. Asked why the commission delayed in taking up the case, the Chairperson said Gayatri did not inform it before lodging an FIR with the police. "This apart, Gayatri remained untracable after a case was registered".
A number of women's organisations and Congress activists had mounted an attack on SWC for not taking up the matter promptly though it rocked the state for over a week and led to stalling of the assembly.