Justice N Anand Venkatesh sounded the caution after expressing distress over the struggle the woman police officer had to go through to even give a complaint to the DGP. “The more the power that is vested in a person by virtue of the position that he is holding, the more stringent must be the punishment if he indulges in sexual harassment,” he said.
“This court shudders to think as to what would have happened if the victim was an officer belonging to a lower cadre as that of a sub-inspector or constable. Probably, it would have become impossible for such an officer to have even given a complaint,” the judge said. If this is the situation faced by a woman officer, it was hard to think about what would happen if it were an ordinary woman with no background who faced sexual harassment, he added.
Mere registration of an FIR by itself does not take away the sordid state of affairs that is prevailing insofar as sexual harassment at workplaces is concerned, the judge said. “There is a faulty gene in men which sometimes make them think that a woman is subordinate to them and that at times she can even be treated as a chattel.
“History, time and again, shows that it is after a very long struggle and only in the last 25 years that women have somehow managed to get to top levels at workplaces. That by itself does not place them at a secure position since they are not seen in their stature as an officer or professional but continue to be seen merely with patriarchal eyes,” the judge observed.
He also noted that the court intervened in the case based on the propensity of the accused person to mobilise the State police force to thwart the course of justice, which was amply demonstrated by the incident that took place at a toll plaza where the victim officer was ‘manoeuvred’ and ‘manhandled’ by a posse of police officers to prevent her from lodging the complaint.