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'Hockey sex scandal probe panel has no legal sanctity'

By Onkar Singh
July 23, 2010 18:20 IST
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Legal experts feel that the five-member committee constituted to probe charges of sexual harassment against M K Kaushik, former chief coach of the Indian women's hockey team, has no legal sanctity and does not carry the same weight as one constituted in accordance with the Supreme Court's directive in the Vishaka vs Government of Rajasthan case.

"The committee set up by the Indian Hockey Federation does not follow the Supreme Court directive. The apex court, in its judgment, had said that all institutions, both government and private, should have a redressal committee which should go into cases of sexual harassment of women workers at their work place, either by fellow-colleagues or the employer," Delhi high court advocate Geeta Luthra told on Friday.

She said the highest court of the land has specifically laid down in the abovementioned order that such a committee should be headed by a woman, and at least fifty percent of the members should be women. Other appointees should be outsiders.

"Normally such committees are loaded with men, as in the present case. Sudharshan Pathak is the lone woman member of the committee, headed by Rajiv Mehta, which has five members.

"Such committees act as mere eyewash. They have a job to do that is entrusted to them, but their findings cannot be described as final," she said.

The option of filing an FIR and and civil suit is also open to the complainant who exposed the scandal in a letter to the Indian Hockey Federation that was singed by 31 woman players.

When got in touch with Kaushik for his version of the episode, all he said was that it is a ploy to fix him. "A well-hatched consiracy."

Before he could be asked to explain what he meant by well-hatched conspiracy, he said, "Thank-you," and slammed the phone down.

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Onkar Singh New Delhi

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