Former Director General of Archives S M R Baqar has been summoned by a Delhi court to appear before it on January 22 for allegedly molesting and intimidating one of his junior woman colleague. The court rejected a cancellation report filed by police regarding Baqar, saying "prima facie" a case is made out against him.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain summoned Baqar after taking cognisance of the offences under sections 354(outraging the modesty of a woman) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The court, however, "partly accepted" the report with regard to a woman, then working as a Junior Administrative Officer (JAO) in Baqar's office, in connection with an FIR registered against her and Baqar on a complaint of an employee, working as a lower division clerk in the National Archives of India, Ministry of Culture.
"Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case, cancellation report filed by the police is partly accepted by the court qua respondent number two (JAO). However, prima facie case under sections 354/506 IPC is made out against the respondent number one (Baqar) in lieu of allegations made against him by the complainant. "As such, while taking cognizance of offences u/s 354/506 of IPC against respondent number one, this court orders for issuance of summons against him for January 22, 2014," the court said.
It observed that there were specific allegations against Baqar regarding sexual harassment and it cannot be discarded at this stage merely on findings of the investigating officer. The woman had alleged that police had carried out shoddy probe and investigating officer had overlooked the material aspects.
An FIR was lodged after a court had directed the police to register a criminal case against Baqar and his colleague in May 2009 on the woman's complaint.
The woman had alleged that she had applied for child care leave in May 2009 and her application was kept pending by the JAO, who had purportedly told her that her leave cannot be sanctioned as her senior officers were not happy with her. The woman had alleged that she went to Baqar's office but he misbehaved with her. She alleged that she was admitted to a hospital here and Baqar came there and apologized to her and requested that she should not say anything about the incident.
She alleged that due to the incident, she was very upset and was under heavy depression and she had lodged a complaint at a police station here but no action was taken on it. The police had lodged FIR against Baqar and his colleague following a magistrate's order but after the probe, it filed a cancellation report in January 2010. The court, however, asked the police to further investigate the matter.
After carrying out further investigation, the police again filed a cancellation report before the court saying that they have recorded statements of some of the witnesses and they had said that no such incident of sexual harassment took place in Baqar's office. The police, in its cancellation report, said that they had also examined Baqar during their probe but he had denied the allegations levelled against him.
The court, however, said Baqar's conduct of personally visiting the complainant in a hospital on May 18, 2009 "raises suspicion" that something wrong might have happened with her. "Also, the fact that the complainant was thereafter granted child care leave, as requested by her, from the back date from very next day of the incident i.e. since May 19, 2009, by the office of respondent number one (Baqar), even when the complainant was not attending office raises suspicion against respondent number one," the magistrate said.
Regarding Baqar's colleague, against whom FIR was filed, the magistrate said no other office staffs, who were examined by the police during the probe, had deposed anything against her.