The Madras High Court today admitted a plea by 10 women lawyers seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to set up a fact-finding team to probe the Pollachi sexual harassment case.
The first bench, headed by Chief Justice V K Tahilramani, issued notice to the government and Director General of Police, asking them to respond by June 7, and also directed the registry to tag the same with a similar case pending before it.
The incident pertains to a a gang allegedly trying to strip a 19-year-old woman inside a car near Pollachi, a town near Coimbatore, recording the act and blackmailing her using the visuals.
The victim, who managed to free herself, had lodged a complaint with the police.
As reports emerged that the gang had sexually harassed many more young women and blackmailed them, the state government ordered a CB-CID probe and later transferred it to CBI.
The women lawyers also sought a direction to the state government to constitute a complaint committee, led by a senior woman advocate and comprising office bearers of the women lawyer association and other interested women lawyers.
They suggested that the committee could be directed to make arrangements to assist women in filing complaints in sexual crimes and to extend counselling and aid to women victims.
The petitioners also sought an order to the Inspector General of Police to register a criminal case against police officials concerned and mediapersons under Sections 228 (a) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code for unlawfully naming the survivor.
They requested the court to transfer the probe to a Special Investigation Team, led by a gender-sensitive officer, not below the rank of DIG, for effective investigation of the case under the supervision of the high court
The women lawyers also sought a direction to the Chairperson of the State Commission for Women to constitute a permanent complaint committee in every district headquarters, presided by a retired district judge and comprising experienced and sensitive women lawyers, psychiatrist and social activists, to give counselling and assistance to victims as per the Vishaka guidelines.