W.A.No.2388 of 2022 and C.M.P.No.18244 of 2022 PARESH UPADHYAY, J. and D.BHARATHA CHAKRAVARTHY, J. (Order of the Court was made by PARESH UPADHYAY, J.) 1. Challenge in this appeal is made to the order dated 09.09.2022 recorded on W.P.No.17798 of 2022. This appeal is by
W.A.No.2388 of 2022 and C.M.P.No.18244 of 2022
PARESH UPADHYAY, J.
D.BHARATHA CHAKRAVARTHY, J.
(Order of the Court was made by PARESH UPADHYAY, J.)
1. Challenge in this appeal is made to the order dated 09.09.2022 recorded on W.P.No.17798 of 2022. This appeal is by
the original writ petitioner.
2. The cause of the action for the writ petitioner is the communication by the fifth respondent dated 04.06.2022 (page 233) intimating him about constitution of an Internal Complaints Committee by Central Board of Direct Taxes (‘CBDT’ for short) under the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and calling upon him to reply to the allegations against him as contained in the complaint dated 24.05.2022 given by the fourth respondent. Grievances are also made by the writ petitioner about
the consequential actions taken by the respondent authorities.
3. Learned Single Judge has dismissed the writ petition as not maintainable.
4. Mr. Ravi, learned advocate for the appellant / writ petitioner and Ms.R.Vaigai, learned Senior Advocate for Ms.Anna Mathew, learned advocate for the fourth respondent (complainant) have addressed the Court at length. Mr.R.Sankara Narayanan, learned Additional Solicitor General for India assisted by Ms.R.Hemalatha, learned advocate has appeared for respondent authorities (respondent Nos.1 to 3 & 5) has also addressed the Court.
5. The dispute is with regard to the proceedings under the
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act,2013. We have considered the material on record, which runs into few hundred pages. According to us, the grievances of the writ petitioner need to be considered on merits. The finding of learned Single Judge that the writ petition
is not maintainable, is erroneous.
6. The appeal is admitted. The finding of learned Single Judge that the writ petition is not maintainable, needs to be and is stayed. Since the grievances of the writ petitioner need to be considered on merits, to enable the parties to complete pleadings, the appeal shall be listed for hearing after six weeks.
7. On the question of interim relief, the following aspects / material, which is on record and which is specifically referred to by learned advocate for the appellant / writ petitioner is taken into
7.1 The timing of the complaint by the fourth respondent (24.05.2022) coincides with the letter of the authorities dated 17.05.2022 (page 220) asking her to furnish reply to the memorandum dated 28.02.2022 (page 258) issued to her, about
failure to discharge her duty as Assistant Commissioner, leading to
tax evasion to the tune of lakhs of rupees.
7.2 The narration in the complaint also indicates prima facie, as if the fourth respondent was replying to the memorandum
dated 28.02.2022 by which her explanation was asked for.
7.3 The writ petitioner has, from the beginning complained that, not only the complaint by the fourth respondent lacks bonafide, even the members in the ICC are also biased against the writ petitioner. This stand is not taken as an afterthought. The representation of the writ petitioner in this regard dated 07.06.2022 (at page 234) and 18.06.2022 (at page 248) are on
7.4 There is material on record to indicate at least prima facie that, two of the members of the ICC are also party to the very same proceedings qua which, the complainant herself is under
scanner as referred at 7.1 above.
7.5 The first intimation to the writ petitioner by the fifth respondent dated 04.06.2022 (page 233) records inter-alia that “an internal complaint committee headed by Ms…. has been constituted by the Board to enquire into the said allegations.” However on behalf of the Board (CBDT) the writ petitioner is informed vide letter dated 06.07.2022 (page 291) that, the said Committee is not constituted by it, but it is constituted by the fifth
7.6 The grievances of the writ petitioner as contained in representation dated 18.06.2022 is forwarded by the Board to the fifth respondent vide letter dated 06.07.2022 (page 291) to look into it. The fifth respondent by letter dated 07.08.2022 (page 295) informed the writ petitioner about his helplessness in that regard, since the writ petition was pending at that time. However after disposal of the writ petition, without considering any of the grievances of the writ petitioner, further proceedings are taken against the writ petitioner. The petitioner is thus left without
redresssal of any of his grievances.
8. On conjoint consideration of the above, we find prima facie that there is substance in the grievances voiced by the writ petitioner against the respondents and therefore he needs to be protected. Interim relief as prayed for is therefore granted. Accordingly it is ordered that, during pendency of this appeal, all proceedings pursuant to the complaint of the fourth respondent dated 24.05.2022 and the proceedings of the second respondent issued in F.No.S.Misc. 49/2022 – ICC dated 04.06.2022 shall
9. List on 15.12.2022.
(P.U.,J.) (D.B.C.,J.) 03.11.2022
PARESH UPADHYAY, J. and D.BHARATHA CHAKRAVARTHY, J.
W.A.No.2388 of 2022 and C.M.P.No.18244 of 2022