In a relief for a vice president, human resources, of an insurance firm, the Bombay High Court has quashed a sexual harassment FIR against him observing improvements in the complainant’s statement to the police.
A bench of Justice Ajey Gadkari and SG Dighe observed, “Perusal of record clearly indicates that the FIR lodged by the respondent No 2 is filled with improvements and suppression of material facts which are on record, as noted above and according to us, is lodged with mala fide intention, only to harass the petitioner.”
The Bombay High Court was hearing a petition filed by the HR head of MAX Life Insurance Co Ltd seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him.
In August 2016, an FIR was registered by the Bhandup police under sections of the Indian Penal Code. It alleged that the complainant was working as a center manager in the insurance company. On May 20, 2016, the accused visited the Bhandup office for a meeting. After the meeting he came to her desk and kept staring at her and made a sexual remark. When she told him off, he got angry, tore the nameplate on her desk and abused her, she alleged. The complainant said that she was humiliated as several employees were present at the time of the incident.
She contended that she complained to the company, however, no action was taken. Later, her father wrote to the company. As the company failed to take action, she approached the police.
Advocate Sanjay Kumar, appearing for the accused, contended that the woman, in her complaint to the company, only alleged mental harassment and the episode of tearing her name plate. The second email sent through her father had improvements. However, the sexual remarks allegation was only made in the FIR.
Meenaz Kakalia, advocate for the complainant, said she sticks to her version in the FIR.
However, the judges noted, “It is to be noted that the respondent No 2 did not make any allegation of passing sexual remarks by the petitioner against her in the said first complaint.”
Respondent No 2 has suppressed the fact that the company had taken cognizance of the complaints lodged by her on May 30, 2016, and her father on August 11, 2016, and the ICC had conducted inquiry into it,” the court remarked.