The Supreme Court on Wednesday closed suo motu proceedings in the Madras High Court to monitor a sexual harassment case against a suspended Indian Police Service officer from Tamil Nadu, Live Law reported.
The complainant, a woman police officer, had accused Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Rajesh Das of behaving inappropriately with her in his vehicle on February 22. The incident reportedly took place while the woman was on duty during former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s visit to some districts in central Tamil Nadu.
The Madras High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter on March 1. The court had said it shuddered to think what would have happened if the complainant was an officer of a lower rank.
Das had approached the top court seeking that the trial be shifted out of Tamil Nadu. He argued that several orders passed by the Madras High Court in the matter had prejudiced the possibility of a fair trial for him.
In response to his petition, the Supreme Court expunged several critical remarks that the High Court made against Das in its orders. A bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi held that there was no need for the High Court to further monitor the investigation, according to Live Law.
The Supreme Court has also set aside a High Court order, issued on August 3, that had directed the Villupuram Chief Judicial Magistrate to conduct daily proceedings and finish the trial by December 20, The News Minute reported. While the magistrate will continue to hear the case, the matter need not be heard on a day-to-day basis.
The first information report had named Das and Chengalpattu Superintendent of Police D Kannan, who was accused of preventing the woman from filing an official complaint. Das and Kannan had been booked under Section 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) of the IPC along with sections 3 and 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.
The Tamil Nadu Police’s Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department filed a chargesheet in the matter on July 30.