In a first of its kind, the Delhi High Court has slapped a cost of Rs 50,000 on a woman for filing a false complaint of sexual harassment against her senior official and dismissed her plea challenging the benefit of doubt given to him.
- The woman in her complaint had alleged sexual harassment by her senior in 2011
- She had alleged that the man had misbehaved and made sexual advances towards her
- In her petition, the woman had also sought direction to the organisation to initiate independent departmental enquiry against the man and to also prosecute him
- To examine the complaint, an ICC was constituted where the man had denied the allegation and claimed that the complaint was the result of a grudge against him due to certain official work disposed by him in her absence
- It said the woman had claimed that the incident took place in the presence of the staff and other members but during the inquiry proceedings, she could not give the name of any person present at that time
- The committee had observed that the exact content of communication of the incident could not be established and gave benefit of doubt to the man
- It had recommended relocating both the woman and the man from their present posting
- The high court, after going through the record of the inquiry proceedings, said it was of the view that the woman’s complaint appeared to be false
The court said there was no merit in the woman’s petition in which she has challenged the 2012 order of the internal complaint committee (ICC) and sought direction that the retirement benefits of the man be withheld. Justice JR Midha quoted,
There is no merit in this writ petition which is dismissed with cost of Rs 50,000 to be deposited by the petitioner [woman] with the Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust within four weeks.
The court also gave the liberty to the organisation, where the woman was working, to initiate appropriate action against her for “filing a false compliant” against the man in accordance with law. The court said,
The petitioner has not mentioned the alleged comments of respondent No 3 [man] in the complaint on the ground of modesty. The petitioner did not even disclose the alleged comments before the committee.
No reason or justification was been given by the petitioner for not disclosing the same before the committee. The entire complaint of the petitioner appears to be false and has been filed with some ulterior motive.
The Delhi High Court Order pertains to July 2019. This order surely comes as a deterrent for several women who assume they can get away by filing false cases against Men. However, past precedents have always been highly subjective, and in ordinary scenarios, there is no implication on any woman whose case is proven to be false.
What happens to the Man’s dignity is a question no one is really bothered about! #MenToo.