Delhi HC Quashes FIR Registered Against Two Employees Of Automobile Company Accused Of Sexually Harassing Law Intern
The Delhi High Court has quashed the FIR registered against two employees of an Automobile Company who were accused of sexually harassing a legal intern/trainee.
The bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain noted that the criminal proceedings arising out of the FIR registered against the two employees cannot be continued particularly, when the accused persons were exonerated by the Internal Complaints Committee.
The Court further added that if the prosecution in pursuance of the FIR registered against both employees is allowed to be continued then it shall be an abuse of process of law.
The Court also noted that the complainant-intern has made only general allegations without any specific detail.
“The respondent no.2 mentioned that the petitioner/Ashish Chauhan used to stare her in sexually offending manner by making gestures at her and used to pass lewd comments about her dressing and physical aspects but these allegations are without any specification.”, the Court observed.
In this case FIR was registered against two employees of an automobile company on the allegations of sexual harassment of a woman who is a lawyer by profession and worked as a trainee.
The Internal Complaints Committee was constituted under Sexual Harassment for Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 wherein the complainant-intern appeared.
The complainant-intern vide e-mail stated that she did not wish to pursue her complaint with Internal Complaints Committee and requested to withdraw the complaint.
However, Internal Complaints Committee proceeded with the enquiry and exonerated the accused persons after conclusion of the proceedings.
The legal issue before the Court was whether after exoneration vide Final Report, the accused persons are still liable to face prosecution arising out of FIR alleging sexual harassment.
Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa and Advocate Sonal appeared for the petitioners-employees whereas ASC Amol Sinha appeared for the State.
The Court noted thus “The issues in the proceedings conducted by the Internal Complaints Committee and in present criminal prosecution are identical and in conduction of enquiry/investigation by the Internal Complaints Committee, the provisions of the Act were duly complied with and have not been contravened. In these circumstances, there is a force in the arguments advanced by the learned Senior Counsel/counsel of the petitioners that the criminal proceedings/prosecution arising out of FIR bearing no. 594/2018 cannot be continued particularly, when the petitioners were exonerated by the Internal Complaints Committee vide Final Report dated 19.08.2019.”
Thus the Court quashed the FIR registered against both employees along with consequential proceedings including judicial proceedings.
Cause Title- Ashish Chauhan v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr with Anr.