Court pulls up Airport Authority for not having sexual harassment committee

New Delhi: The Centre has been asked by a Delhi court to take action against Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials for violating a Supreme Court direction to set up a panel to look into the complaints of sexual harassment of woman officials.

While asking the ministries of Civil Aviation and the Law and Justice to take action against the AAI officials, the court pulled it up for not having any such committee and said it is a "clear violation" of the directives of the apex court.

Representative image. Reuters

"It is evident that there is no committee in place in the AAI to look into the complaints of sexual harassment of the lady officials. This is in clear violation of the directives of the Supreme Court," Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said.

"This case brings out a very sad state of affairs. Let a copy of this judgement be sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, directing them to seek explanation from concerned officials as to why no such committee to look into the complaints of sexual harassment to lady employees has been formed in AAI, New Delhi, and to take appropriate action against the officials found to have violated the directives of the Supreme Court in this regard," the court said.

The court made the observation while absolving an AAI woman employee and her family members of the charges of causing hurt and restraining one of her colleagues.

The court said the case was lodged by the man as a "counter blast" of the FIR registered against him for sexually harassing the woman.

The order came on an appeal filed by the woman, a Delhi resident, for quashing the charges of assaulting and wrongly restraining Vidyut Kesh Singh, Assistant Manager of Operations Section in AAI, in office.

According to the prosecution, the woman had beaten Singh by calling him in her chamber on February 25, 2010 in the office. It was also alleged that later on the same day, the woman's husband and mother had also beaten Singh and he was saved by his colleagues.

The woman, however, had alleged in the court that Singh used to sexually harass her in the office and her husband and mother had come there to make him understand not to do so.

She had said that the arguments had turned ugly and Singh assaulted her husband following which she lodged a case of sexual harassment against him and later on, as a counter blast he too filed a false case against them.

The court, while quashing the charges against the woman, said this case demonstrates "apathy and discrimination" towards women in a government organisation like AAI.

"A lady official (accused in the case) alleged sexual harassment to her by a colleague. Instead of giving an ear to her complaint, the male officials appear to have got together and lodged a false FIR against that lady official and her relatives," it said.

The court also noted in its order that this case has been initiated on the basis of the complaint of Singh only as a "counter blast" to the FIR which has been filed at IGI Airport Police Station against him (Singh) by the woman.

The court quashed the charges against them saying there were material contradictions in the statements of Singh and other witnesses which make the case of the prosecution utmost doubtful even at this stage.


Updated Date: Jan 10, 2013 18:48 PM

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