KPS Gill was known as India’s “supercop” for his role in tackling the insurgency in Punjab during his stints as director general of police in the state. He was also convicted in one of India’s first sexual harassment case that was fought in the courts.
Gill, who died in May, 2017 at the age of 82, was accused of groping Rupan Deol Bajaj, an IAS officer, at an official party in 1988. Bajaj’s senior officers ignored her complaints, so that she was forced to take the matter to court.
Gill was finally pronounced guilty in 1996. After a series of appeals, his conviction was upheld, with the three-month jail sentence being converted to three years of probation, which was further reduced to one year. He also had to pay a fine of Rs 2 lakh – Bajaj did not accept the money, which went to a women’s charitable organisation, and Rs 50,000 as costs.
In an interview to BBC, Bajaj has spoken about the case, a high-profile one in the annals of India’s legal history. The civil servant began by talking about the high prevalence of sexual harassment. Bajaj said, “She may be educated, uneducated, she may be working class, she may be an officer, she may be a high-ranking officer like me, all woman, nobody’s immune. It happens every day.”
Bajaj went on to explain what exactly took place at the party. “Always people have considered (it) a very trivial thing,” Bajaj says. “But I could not get over the enormity of it. But letting it go meant living with a lowered self-esteem, gulping down my humiliation.”
The former officer also talked about the hypocrisies inherent in a case like this: “The entire focus was on me. Why have I registered a case? Must be something wrong with me.”
She concluded, “I never fought against KPS Gill, I fought against the mindset of society.”