The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Telangana government for their insensitive approach towards a petition filed by the mother of a woman finance officer who allegedly ended her life due to repeated sexual harassment at her workplace at BHEL’s Hyderabad office to avoid embarrassment.
“The Home Secretary of Telangana shall personally look into this aspect and issue appropriate directions to all concerned as may be advised,” a two-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar and also comprising Justice S Ravindra Bhat said in their order on Friday.
“We deprecate the request made by the counsel for the state of Telangana for an adjustment in this case, and that too for a period of four weeks,” the bench of the top court said, and posted the matter for further hearing in the week commencing from December 14.
The top court also said, “To avoid embarrassment to the state, (Telangana), we refrain from recording the reasons mentioned seeking adjournment in the case. The reason stated indicated the insensitivity with which the investigation is progressing in this case. We say no more for the time being.”
The top court was hearing a petition filed by the mother of the sexually harassed victim, who committed suicide later, seeking a CBI investigation in the case.
The mother of the victim, who was working as a finance officer in the BHEL, had moved the top court through her lawyer, Alakh Alok Srivastava, seeking a CBI enquiry into the death of her daughter, who had allegedly died by suicide due to repeated sexual harassment at her workplace at BHEL Hyderabad office.
The mother of the sexually harassed victim, who had allegedly committed suicide, had filed the writ petition before the top court on July 5, and sought a direction to urgently transfer the criminal investigation to the CBI from Telangana State police pertaining to her unfortunate death due to sexual harassment at her workplace at BHEL, Hyderabad.
Alakh Alok Srivastava, lawyer for the mother, in the petition, stated that the petitioner’s dead daughter was a bright, young and intelligent finance professional, having other qualifications. She had joined BHEL in 2009, at a young age of 23 years and served BHEL till her last breath i.e. till October 17, 2019, with utmost dedication and devotion to her duties.
There was not even an iota of complaint against her work or against her mental behaviour during her long association with BHEL, Mr Srivasatava in his petition claimed.
She was sexually harassed, molested, stalked, mentally tortured and attempted to be raped by her own supervisor and by her own office colleagues at BHEL, Hyderabad, which forced her to ultimately commit suicide on October 17, 2019, at a young age of merely 33, the petition claimed.
The petitioner, herein, being an aggrieved mother, is seeking justice for her daughter.
The suicide note of the dead and her last telephonic conversation with her sister, categorically established that her own supervisor and office colleagues subjected her to extreme level of sexual, physical and mental harassment and attempted to rape her, due to which she was forced to commit suicide, the petition claimed.
The petition claimed that the dead daughter of the petitioner categorically stated that attempt to rape and repeated sexual harassment by the main accused, Arther Kishore Kumar, and other co-accused persons, had prompted her to commit suicide. However, despite this, the Telangana State police have not yet arrested the main accused, or any other accused persons and have not conducted their custodial interrogation.
To their surprise, the Telangana police had, illegally given clean chit to the accused persons, in their latest report of June 2, 2020, filed before the National Commission of Women (NCW), the petition claimed and sought a CBI enquiry into the entire case to unravel the truth.