Chhattisgarh-HC-Dr Savitri Tripathi vs State of Chhattisgarh

Lady-teacher

The petitioner has filed the present petition contending that she is Senior Professor of English and at the relevant time, she was posted at Government J.P. Verma, P.G. Arts and Commerce College, Bilaspur. Her complaint was against an Assistant Professor in English and posted at Government College, Akaltara visited Government J.P. Verma P.G. Arts and Commerce College, Bilaspur on 26.09.2012 as well as on 27.09.2012 used obscene language about the petitioner. Again, on 05.10.2012 after meeting with B.L. Goyal, now Retired Principal, J.P. Verma College outside of the room of the Principal, he used

taunting words and directed her to come inside the English and Hindi Department. Petitioner looking to the attitude of respondent No. 5, stated that if he wants to talk with her talk here at Principal Chamber. Then he said that he belongs to reserved category as such she cannot take any action against him.

The petitioner orally informed the indecent behaviour of respondent No. 5 to respondent No. 4. Again on 12.10.2012 at 4 pm during the course of office hours, respondent No. 5 suddenly entered into the Hindi and English Department and started abusing her with filthy language which amounts to outrage the modesty of the petitioner and against reputation of the senior lady professor. He uttered these words in presence of number of professors who have
objected respondent No. 5. Therefore, on 13.10.2013, she made written complaint to the Principal, Government J.P. Verma P.G. Arts and Commerce College, Bilaspur. Thereafter, she again sent reminder letters on 19.12.2012 and 29.12.2012 copy was also sent to respondent No. 4 who became Additional Director, Higher Education.

The petitioner thereafter wrote to her authorities to forward her complaint to the police to file a FIR.  This was as per service rules.  The authorities did not file an FIR. Another stand taken by the authorities was that the said Asst. Professor was employed in another college and hence it is not the same employer.

HC held that:

  1. It is on record that the petitioner and the respondent 5 are both government employees and  thus employer is same.  The contention that they are employed in different colleges fails.
  2. The government also have failed to discharge their obligation and thus failed to perform their duty of forwarding the complaint to the police.
  3. The State Government should see that in future if such exigency arise, any victim of sexual harassment at workplace should not run pillar to post to get her redressal.
  4. The other contention raised since respondent 5 is employed in a different college and the alleged act was not at his workplace cannot be construed as sexual harassment.  HC held that is is not a valid ground as it is a workplace under Sec. 2(o) of the POSH Act, 2013.
  5. The HC directed that the Secretary / Director / their authorized persons from Higher Education or Principal of the College where the petitioner was posted, shall initiate proceedings against respondent No. 5 for registration of FIR on the basis of complaint made by the petitioner and materials collected by the facts finding Committee within two months from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
  6. It is made clear that this Court has not given any opinion on the merits of the case. On registration of FIR, it is for the investigating authority to investigate the matter and submit its report to the concerned trial Court as per the procedure prescribed under the Criminal Procedure Code.

Download the judgement copy here: Metis POSH - Case Law- Dr Savitri Tripathi vs State of Chhattisgarh 25 Oct 2021 (162 downloads)