Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Central Information Commission issues notice to NCW for inaction in sexual harassment plaint

Times of India: New Delhi: Tuesday, June 20, 2017.
The Central Information Commission has issued a show cause notice to the National Commission of Women for its alleged inaction on the complaint of sexual harassment of a woman staffer as also for breach of RTI.
The CIC order came on a second appeal filed by the former NCW staffer, who had filed an RTI with the commission for information on the extension of her contract as well as details of the inquiry report on her complaint of sexual harassment against a senior NCW official. The information was denied.
The order by M Sridhar Acharyulu is scathing about the role of NCW as well as the conduct of the internal complaints committee of the NCW.
It also points to the incongruity of NCW forwarding the request for information to the person (as first appellate authority) against whom the complaint had been filed by its former staffer.
Acharyulu points to breach of statutory obligations by the first appellate authority, saying, "It is clear that the officer was accused of sexual harassment, and he was the same officer supposed to decide the first appeal as designated FA authority under the RTI Act. It is evidently a case of conflict of interest and yet he was facilitated to continue ...
The first appellate authority has not followed the principles of natural justice". The order also directs the officer concerned and the chief information officer of NCW to show cause as to why they should not be penalised.
The CIC order also comes down on the member secretary of the NCW, asking it to explain why the panel should not be ordered to pay compensation to the complainant.