As the much-spoken about sexual harassment case within the Police Department has been transferred to another State, city folk push for committees with more teeth and hail the judiciary for moving the case when the powerful decide not to budge from their chairs.
When a young woman with aspirations and zeal to serve her country joined the forces little did she know that she would get caught up in a sexual harassment case, face harassment and suffer being judged with the stigma dogging her because she chose to raise her voice.
A woman Superintendent of Police in Tamil Nadu raised her voice against Murugan IPS, the Joint Director of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), in August 2018. As soon as she complained, the Tamil Nadu police, under the leadership of TK Rajendran, constituted an Internal Committee in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
Subsequent to that she filed a complaint with the police department while she also went ahead and petitioned the courts to take criminal action against Murugan with a plea for him to be moved out of his powerful DVAC post because she genuinely worried for her own safety, his extensive powers and how those may hamper her right to a fair hearing and justice. DMK MP Kanimozhi and several women's rights activists asked for her to be heard without her alleged perpetrator continuing to occupy the powerful chair.
A senior advocate Sudha Ramalingam who has been following this case, says, "It is the man who holds wide-ranging powers and it would have been unreasonable for the woman to go up in a case against a superior who wields power. It is best that the case is transferred and if the girl gets justice, it will empower more women in agencies, institutions and within government to also speak up against such crimes."
In August last year the lady was summoned by the committee while the senior officer continued occupying his chair at the DVAC. Relentless in her bid to speak up against the torment she allegedly faced, she pointed out that the committee constituted by the then DGP had no neutral member on it and all the members were beneficiaries of government salary or pension. After several adjournments and unending insinuations on the woman's character by some people and certain sections of the media, the high court has shifted the case out of Tamil Nadu and transferred it to Telangana.
Human Rights activist Siva Rajendran, also a practicing advocate, says, "Many cases can be transferred even to the CBI, but what is the guarantee that justice will be served. It ultimately depends on the evidence gathered and case details recorded at the initial stages. No matter how many fresh approaches another State's investigation agencies take, it remains to be seen what evidence is left for them to uncover. They will have to go by what has already been collected."...