Govt Officers Accused of Sexual Harassment Can Be Shunted

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), September 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Govt Officers Accused of Sexual Harassment Can Be Shunted


New Delhi, Sept. 13 -- O

A GOVT OFFICIAL SAID THE TRANSFER WOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS AN INDICTMENT OF THE SUSPECT

NEW DELHI: Officers facing sexual harassment charges could be transferred out to ensure they do not abuse their authority to influence the outcome of the inquiry, the Centre told departments last week.

The government's advisory is aimed at fixing a gap in the rules that gave the power to recommend transfer of the victim or the suspect to the complaints committee tasked to probe the complaint.

The memo, issued by the department of personnel and training that serves as the government's human resource manager, gave departments a free hand to transfer the officer facing charges if there were concerns about his ability to influence the outcome.

Departments may also consider transferring the suspect officer to another office "to obviate any risk of that officer using the authority of his office to influence the proceedings of the complaints committee," DoPT director Mukesh Chaturvedi said in the memo.

A government official said the decision on the officer's transfer would have to be taken on a case-to-case basis and would depend on the concerns expressed by the complainant.

This is an enabling provision, he said, adding that the transfer would not be taken as an indictment of the suspect.

The sexual harassment law mandates that every office has an internal committee headed by a woman officer to probe complaints. However, there were doubts if the woman officer had to be senior in rank to the charged officer.

Chaturvedi's memo suggested that civil servants need not lose sleep over the seniority of the panel chairperson. …

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