The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) G (North) ward on Thursday suspended a civic staff from the Solid waste management department over accusations that he sexually harassed two women employees at his office.
A staff named Prakash Sable, has been booked by the Shivaji Park police station under section 354 (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) based on the statements of the first victim.
The woman, a clerk in the same department approached the Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G (North) ward and complained about Sable, touching her inappropriately and demanding sexual favours. She had joined the department a month before the incident took place.
"After the woman complained about the sexual harassment on Wednesday, I immediately constituted a three women officer committee to investigate the matter. While the investigation was on, another female staff from the same department approached us with a similar complaint against Sable. A separate complaint has been registered at Shivaji Park police station by the complainant herself." said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner G (North) ward (Dharavi, Dadar and Mahim).
“Meanwhile, we had sent him for further inquiry to the chief engineer Solid waste management department. Reports of the three members committee along with the statement of the complainant has been submitted to the sexual harassment committee of the BMC under the Vishakha guidelines," Dighavkar told the Free Press Journal.
The Vishakha guidelines are a set of procedural guidelines for use in cases of sexual harassment.
He added, "The Shivaji Park police will be investigating the case from here on parallelly, they have already taken away Sable. However, according to the Mumbai Municipal (Service) Act 1989 amended rule no 80 (1) C, he needs to be suspended from municipal services till the police investigation, judicial probe and departmental inquiry is completed.”
According to Dighavkar, Sable who was working as Assistant Head supervisor in the SWM department if G north ward stands suspended from municipal services from March 4.
"The accused Prakash Sable, heads the team of labourers in the Solid waste management department and manages them and their work including the attendance, distribution of work etc. We have suspended him, following the findings by the three member committee and based on the statement and referred it further to the sexual harassment comittee," Dighavkar informed.
The rule has the provision that the municipal employee undergoing investigation, inquiry and judicial inquiry in relation to a criminal offence, can be suspended.
However, this is not the first time that Prakash sable has been suspended by the civic body. In 2017, Sable, then Assistant head supervisor at N ward (Ghatkopar, Vikhroli) along with two other junior staff was suspended for laxity and dereliction of duty. He was accused of not supervising the mechanised sweeping in Ghatkopar. Officials then said he did not follow instructions and was very arrogant.