Prasar Bharati chief denies taking ‘lenient’ view of DD sexual harassment case

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar has maintained that "appropriate action" under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and relevant legal guidelines was taken against a top Doordarshan official in a sexual harassment case, saying suggestions that he had parried on the issue were "mischievous".

In a letter to Bimal Julka, secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Sircar said in the case of additional director general of Doordarshan Raj Shekhar Vyas: "You can rest assured that appropriate action in terms of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules of 1964 as also under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and the Vishaka Guidelines of the Supreme Court are being adhered to with as much sensitivity and promptness as you would expect of a senior colleague."

Vyas has been transferred to All India Radio. Sircar explained that an FIR had not been filed against Vyas – it had been alleged that he had used "abusive words and unparliamentary language" against a woman employee – because "we would require a solid complaint against the officer in terms of Indian Penal Code, that has to be presented by the complainant, either to us: or even direct to the police. We can take appropriate action if this is available: isn't it?"

The Prasar Bharati CEO pointed to Vyas's lengthy reply to the charge-sheet against him and noted: "It may not be legally correct/appropriate at this level/stage to make any premature interventions in the due process of law, as this itself could become a cause for legally challenging the fairness of the entire proceedings."

He blamed "mischievous element( s)" for trying to create the impression that he had taken a lenient view on Vyas even though the joint secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had informed him in a letter that there was a prima facie case of sexual harassment against Vyas.

The ministry official had referred to a report by a Women's Cell that Prasar Bharati was empowered to take disciplinary action against Vyas and this may be initiated "at the earliest".


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