DGCA's punishment for sexual harassment: No increments
Instead of lodging an FIR, DGCA's internal inquiry committee decided to stop the increment of an officer who was found guilty in a sexual harassment case
An internal inquiry conducted by the DGCA in connection with a sexual harassment case against its officer KL Meena, has found merit in the case. A junior woman officer in August 2014 had complained about sexual harassment by Meena.
Though no official police complaint has been lodged against Meena, the DGCA has stopped the increment of the erring officer for three years. “This was penalty recommended by the internal inquiry committee and the UPSC,” said a senior DGCA official from Delhi. Meena is currently director of air safety of DGCA (Mumbai). He was posted in Delhi when the complaint was lodged. After the complaint Meena was transferred to Mumbai.
An internal order issued by the DGCA on June 13 declared the charges against Meena proven (a copy is with mid-day). The case was conducted under the Central Civil Services (CCS) Rules. “The complaint committee that
was appointed by the disciplinary authority inquired into the charges filed against Meena, and has found him guilty,” explained a senior DGCA official from their headquarters. The official further said, “In August 2014, Meena had written to the DGCA, denying all the allegations made against him by a junior officer, however, in May 2016, he again wrote to DGCA, but there was nothing in addition to the facts mentioned in his previous letter.”
The Union Public Service Commission which too was consulted on this issue, came up with the advice that the charges against Meena are of very serious nature, and asked he be given ‘Reduction to a lower stage in the time scale of pay by three stages for three years with further direction that he will not earn increments of pay during the period of such reduction, and on expiry of the penalty period, the reduction will have the effect of postponing future increments of his pay.’
When contacted, Meena disconnected the call and did not reply to a text message. However, sources alleged that the DGCA did not conduct the inquiry following the Vishakha guidelines, and there was no FIR lodged against the accused. DGCA did not respond to mid-day’s question on this.
Commenting on offices following the Vishakha guidelines, advocate Ujwala Kadrekar explained, “In a sexual harassment complaint it is mandatory for the companies to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and conduct an inquiry into the complaint under Vishakha guidelines. Fifty percent of the members should be women. An NGO member is a must on the panel, enabling unbiased and fair inquiry. Based on the recommendations of the ICC, the employer will issue directions in the matter. Both the complainant and the perpetrator should receive the copy of the proceedings as well as final report as issued by the ICC.”