Following a probe into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by filmmaker Nishtha Jain against senior journalist Vinod Dua, the external committee set up by The Wire submitted a report stating that it was unable to proceed further in the investigation as "it does not have the unconditional consent of both sides, which alone can be the source of its authority to proceed further in the matter," The Wire reported.
Taking the obstacles into consideration, the committee stated, "the process which has already taken longer than it should have continues to be fraught with objections from the parties at each stage, with the end nowhere in sight."
In what has come to be recognised as the second wave of the #MeToo movement in India, Jain took to Facebook on 17 October, 2018 and accused Dua in a post of sexually harassing her in 1989. Dua has anchored The Wire's show, Jan Gan Man ki Baat and had been a pro bono consulting editor since 2016. However, as neither Jain nor Dua were employees of the news organisation when the alleged incident took place, The Wire set up an external committee as opposed to a probe by the Internal Complaints Committee in order to address Jain's accusation and Dua's denial.
After three meetings, several email exchanges and a review of their progress thus far, The Wire reported that the committee had concluded that it could not probe further into the case. The report stated that even as both the parties had given written statements, Dua had said, "he would neither cross-examine Jain nor agree to be cross-examined by her." Furthermore, Dua had agreed to appear before the committee members and answer their questions provided the complainant or her representative was not present.
Jain for her part also "expressed her misgivings and raised questions relating to the manner in which the External Committee had been constituted and the fact that the Committee would itself be framing its own Terms of Reference and procedures."
The external committee comprising Justice (Retired) Aftab Alam, a former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice (Retired) Anjana Prakash, a former judge of the Patna high court, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, Prof Patricia Uberoi and Prof Neera Chandhoke handed the report to The Wire on 30 December and noted that it, "would like to put on record its frustration over a potentially useful exercise being aborted midway…. Had it been able to complete its work, it would have set a precedent for the future."
Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 19:30:29 IST