Court notice on plea against panel probing DU staffer suicide

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Mon, Dec 16, 2013 17:50 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday issued notice to the city government on a plea seeking quashing of its inquiry committee looking into the cause of the suicide of a woman lab assistant in a Delhi University college in September.

Justice V.K. Jain asked the Delhi government to explain the terms of reference under which the committee was appointed to look into suicide of Pavitra Bhardwaj. The court posted the matter for Jan 10, 2014.

The woman, a victim of alleged "sexual harassment at workplace" by the principal of Bhim Rao Ambedkar College here, committed suicide by immolating herself outside the Delhi Secretariat Sep 30.

Her husband and six associate professors of different DU colleges, and two others, moved the plea questioning the jurisdiction of the committee headed by retired additional district and sessions judge B.L. Garg to investigate a criminal offence.

The plea sought direction to the Ambedkar College's governing body to set up an enquiry committee in lines with the Vishaka guidelines to deal with allegations of sexual harassment against college principal G.K. Arora.

The plea said: "It is a trite that setting up a fact finding committee like the one in present case where an FIR is already lodged and the matter is being investigated is not a step in right direction."

"If the Vishaka guidelines is implemented in letter and spirit, no other measures can be suggested by the committee headed by B.L. Garg," the petition said.

The husband of 35-year-old Bhardwaj, who had sustained 92 percent burns and succumbed to her injuries seven days later, had in November moved the high court alleging police of inaction into the probe of the case.

Bhardwaj, who was lab attendant in the department of geography in the college, made more than 100 complaints against Arora and his personal staff over sexual, physical and mental harassment, her husband had said.

She approached everyone from the university administration to the offices of the chief minister, lt governor and the Human Rights Commission with her complaint but to no avail.

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