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Suspended special DGP moves HC to quash ICC proceedings

Two panel members are biased, he says

Suspended Special Director-General of Police Rajesh Das has moved the Madras High Court challenging the inquiry conducted against him by an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) on a complaint of sexual harassment lodged by a woman Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in February this year.

In his writ petition, the suspended officer accused a member of the ICC of being biased against him and alleged that principles of natural justice were not followed scrupulously before the committee concluded the inquiry and submitted its report to the State government on April 8.

He urged the court to quash all proceedings that had been conducted so far by the ICC and order a proper inquiry by following due process of law in accordance with the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013.

The petitioner said the woman officer had lodged her first complaint on February 22 and it led to the constitution of the ICC headed by Additional Chief Secretary Jayashree Raghunandan. The ICC comprised five others, including Additional DGP Seema Agarwal and IGP A. Arun.

On February 27, the petitioner claimed to have made a representation to the Home Secretary and requested to remove Ms. Agarwal and Mr. Arun from the committee on the ground that they were biased against him.

Nevertheless, the ICC began inquiring into the issue even before his representation could be considered, he said.

It was much later that he came to know that the government had removed Mr. Arun alone from the ICC and replaced him with K. Joshi Nirmal Kumar. However, Ms. Agarwal continued in the committee which did not even furnish copies of statements made by the witnesses to him, the petitioner complained.

The suspended Special DGP claimed that most of the witnesses were subordinates to the complainant and therefore he had requested to transfer her so that the witnesses could depose freely. However, his request was not adhered to and the committee went ahead with the proceedings, he said. Further, submitting that the committee’s report had led to issuance of a charge memo to him on May 31, the petitioner said even the ICC’s report was not served on him. “As such the entire proceedings are vitiated and the entire proceedings of the third respondent (ICC) are liable to be struck down,” his affidavit read.

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