The contents of Reports alleging sexual harassment can hardly relate to affairs of State or anything concerning national security-Supreme Court.
The Government officials seems to have double standards when it comes to maintain transparency in their conduct in dealing with sexual harassment at work place. The recent judgment of the Apex Court shows how in a complaint of sexual harassment against a Joint Secretary level officials, the complainant was deprived of the report of the committee which was constituted to enquire the matter. Not to mention that the disciplinary authority after going through the report of the committee concluded that there was not enough evidence to take action on the complaint.
Union of India in an affidavit filed in the Apex Court claimed privilege under Sections 123 and 124 of the Evidence Act pleading that the disclosure of the contents of the Report would be against national interest and would compromise national security.
Apparently, the Apex Court was taken aback at this callous submission on behalf of the Government and ordered Registry to handover the copy of the report to the complainant.
Case Law Details:
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4913 OF 2016 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) NO.1257 OF 2010)
Nisha Priya Bhatia …. Appellantvs. Ajit Seth & Ors ….Respondents
Date of Judgment: 06/05/2016
Coram: Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice N.V. Ramana
Important Excerpts from the Judgment:
With respect to furnishing the Report dated 23rd January, 2009 an affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Union of India claiming privilege under Sections 123 and 124 of the Evidence Act. We have been taken through the affidavit dated 22nd July, 2010 and all that the affidavit says is that disclosure of the contents of the Report would be against national interest and would compromise national security. Apparently, this is only because the appellant happens to belong to the highly sensitive organization which is entrusted with the delicate job of collecting and analyzing intelligence inputs necessary to maintain the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country.
We have gone through both the Reports and the accompanying documents and find absolutely nothing therein which could suggest that there is any threat to the integrity of the country or anything contained therein would be detrimental to the interests of the country. We had also specifically asked the learned Additional Solicitor General to tell us exactly what portion of the Reports and the documents would be detrimental to the interests of the country but nothing could be pointed out during the hearing.
We find it very odd that in a matter of an enquiry in respect of an allegation of sexual harassment, the Union of India should claim privilege under Sections 123 and 124 of the Evidence Act. The contents of Reports alleging sexual harassment can hardly relate to affairs of State or anything concerning national security. In any event, absolutely nothing has been shown to us to warrant withholding the Reports and the documents from the appellant in relation to the enquiry of allegations of sexual harassment made by the appellant----------- Similar Posts: -----------