Delhi high court dismisses sexual harassment charges against OP Kejriwal
The Delhi High Court has dismissed a senior woman official's plea seeking trial of former information commissioner OP Kejriwal on charges of sexual harassment for allegedly making objectionable remarks against her.
Delhi's former regional passport officer (RPO) Gloria Kumar, in her petition before the high court, had alleged that Kejriwal had made the objectionable remarks while hearing a widow's complaint against alleged delay by her in providing information relating to the complainant's pending passport application.
Kejriwal had also imposed a fine of Rs16,000 on Kumar for the alleged delay in providing information to the 90-year-old widow in August 2006.
While dismissing Kumar's plea for Kejriwal's prosecution on sexual harassment charges, Justice Muralidhar said, "The petitioner was not an employee of the Central Information Commission. Therefore, the question of CIC referring her complaint of sexual harassment against one of its information commissioners to a complaints committee appointed by the chief information commissioner does not arise."
The court, however, waived off the fine imposed on her by the former information commissioner.
Kumar had come to the high court challenging dismissal of her plea by erstwhile chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah for initiation of criminal proceedings against Kejriwal for making "objectionable" remarks against her.
She had also asked Habibullah to transfer the case of the widow, Krishna Devi Jalani, against her from the court of Kejriwal to any other commissioner.
Kumar had urged Habibullah to protect "a woman officer" from the "on-going harassment" and had expressed fears that she would not get "fair treatment" from Kejriwal.
"A full bench, which I have requested, be constituted at the earliest and none of my cases be put up before Kejriwal, and the cases pending be also transferred to any other information commissioner or the CIC," she had requested.
The CIC, however, had dismissed her plea in October 2008, while Kejriwal, finding her guilty of delaying information to the widow in stipulated time, had later imposed a fine on her.
Aggrieved, Kumar had approached the high court stating that the penalty imposed on her was not correct as she was not responsible for the delay in giving information in the case.
It seems the title is misleading. The court has not cleared IC Kejriwal of the harassment charges. It has just said that CIC's decision of rejecting the full bench constitution was correct.
The high court has also waived off the penalty.
We shall have to read the full order before commenting on its merits, but it seems this is not going to help the cause of RTI, and Ms Gloria Kumar has succeeded in proving her point that she is basically above system, because she is a woman (and, as she alleged in another matter, she is from a minority community).