M A I N   N E W S

Sexually harassed by senior 9 yrs ago, woman SI gets Rs50K compensation!
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, December 9
Nine years after a woman sub-inspector with the Mumbai Police Anti Narcotics Cell complained of sexual harassment by her senior, the Maharashtra Government has paid her Rs 50,000 as compensation!

The case wound up this week with the National Human Rights Commission getting a letter from the Maharashtra Chief Secretary that Neelam Bhagat, still with the state police, had been paid Rs 50,000 on NHRC directions.

But the commission, which hailed the case as a “marker” on the eve of World Human Rights Day, didn’t close the chapter. It has marked the case to the Mumbai Chief Metropolitan Magistrate “to treat it as a complaint against Jawahar Singh, the then DCP, Narcotics Branch, Mumbai Police, and presently IG, Prison, Aurangabad.”

Rarely does the commission become a complainant in human rights violations but this case is unique. Records reveal that Neelam Bhagat reported sexual harassment to her seniors on March 2, 2002, and sought an FIR of cognizable offence under Section 354, IPC, against the accused IPS.

“The Commissioner didn’t record the FIR to protect the IPS officer,” the NHRC notes. A probe was ordered and though the ACP probing the matter concluded that circumstances of March 2, 2002 indicated that the DCP uttered something to Neelam Bhagat which offended and disturbed her, but no action was taken against the accused.

“What more was required to take action against the DCP considering harassment took place in his chamber where just the two were present. The victim narrated the events to her husband and a constable and both corroborated,” the commission order says, slamming the state for simply “killing time, shunting the case between departments to protect the accused”.

The complaint was made to the NHRC on April 1, 2002 by the Women Police Employees Association of Mumbai. The then Commissioner member Sujatha Manohar took cognizance on April 18, 2002, after which the case file went missing, resurfacing only in 2008.

“I received the file only on August 5, 2008 and issued summons to the Chief Secretary, Maharashtra. They kept buying time. I issued conditional summons twice,” Justice BC Patel, member, NHRC, told the TNS.

In between, the state told the NHRC that the victim didn’t want to pursue such an old case and didn’t want compensation. But the commission took strong objection to state’s delaying tactics and noted, “It appears the police department has gone to the extent of obtaining a request from the victim wherein she has stated that the matter is very old and she is no more interested. What else can an unprotected victim say? But no such statement has been placed on record and we insist the compensation be paid.”

It was after several reminders and finally summons to the Joint Secretary, Home, Maharashtra, to be personally present in the NHRC that the token amount of Rs 50,000 was finally paid this week.

The Case

n March 2, 2002: Accused Jawahar Singh, the then DCP, called Neelam Bhagat to his chamber to review work

n He made objectionable remarks like “Aap aaye bahaar aayi”, said she looked beautiful and asked her to lift her dupatta. She threatened to report the matter, to which he replied that no one could harm him

n She sought to register an FIR, but no case was lodged. She then moved the National Human Rights Commission





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