Gujarat HC quashes sexual harassment FIR against Congress MLA, two others

The Gujarat High Court has quashed an FIR against Congress MLA from Patan, Kirit Patel and two others, accusing them of sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, and criminal defamation, based on a complaint by a university faculty member.
Gujarat HC quashes sexual harassment FIR against Congress MLA, two others
Gujarat High Court


Justice Gita Gopi on Friday quashed the complaint and FIR, holding that a plain reading of the complaint showed that "it missed out on specifics". The complainant "has not given any particulars or details as to when the alleged instances of harassment had taken place," the judge said.
At the time of the incident in 2016, Patel and two other accused were office-bearers of the Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University at Patan. All the three were charged of forgery, intentionally insulting someone, criminal intimidation, criminal defamation, insulting modesty of a woman and criminal conspiracy, under the Indian Penal Code.
The high court observed that it appeared that the issue related to political rivalry between different factions in the varsity as the complainant had narrated as to how a particular individual was restricted from becoming a member of the Executive Committee/Search Committee for the varsity's Vice Chancellor.
"The allegations made in the impugned complaint appear to be general in nature and unspecific. This court is of the opinion that the complaint filed by (the complainant) is a clear misuse and abuse of the process of law and deserves to be quashed and set aside," it ruled.
In November 2017, the alleged victim had filed a complaint against the three alleging that in 2016, some TV news channels reported a news item in which some scandalous remarks were made against her and Adesh Pal, who was the Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University at that time. 
The complaint also alleged that some posters were pasted on the university premises portraying that the complainant and Pal, her PhD guide, were involved in "an illicit relationship".
It was also alleged that "to scuttle the journey of Dr Adesh Pal as the Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University," the accused used the complainant "as a medium so as to harm the reputation" of Pal.
The complainant, aggrieved by the non-addition of certain sections in the FIR, had moved the Gujarat HC, seeking transfer of investigation in the case to DSP, Patan. Initially the complaint was filed under Sections 500 and 120B of the IPC (criminal defamation and criminal conspiracy, respectively). Following a court order and investigation by the DSP Patan, the complaint was registered under Sections 354(A)(1)(iv), 469, 504, 506, 500, 509 and 120B of IPC against the three accused, including the Patan MLA.
The university had constituted a committee to inquire into the allegations made by the female faculty and upon inquiry, it submitted its report to the Vice Chancellor, saying that the computers had no history of downloads or any objectionable material of the posters, referred to by the complainant. 
The FSL and the Directorate of Forensic Science, Gujarat, also said that "no incriminating material was found in the said Computers, after investigating the computers of the university".

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