Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India, Mr. T.S.Vijayan was served with an ultimatum on 24 November 2008 seeking action against Mr. Nihar Ranjan Tripathy, ADM of the Corporation’s P&GS Unit at Bhubaneswar, who is accused of sexual harassment perpetrated on a lady employee in the premises of the branch office on 16 October 2008. But surprisingly he is silent and the lady employee continues to endure the insult.
Nobody knows since when the LIC of India has developed such culture of recalcitrance in dealing with crimes of passion. But, the way the accused officer is protected till date speaks volumes of how now it sloughs over its legally required duty to protect dignity of its lady employees.
The East Central Zone Insurance Employees’ Association, in its Working Committee meeting held at Patna, Bihar, in a resolution on 28 November 2008, has “unequivocally condemned the uncivilized behavior, use of highly objectionable words, display of body language aimed at outraging the modesty of the lady employee” by Mr. Tripathy.
The resolution goes on to note, “ This meeting notes with serious concern that even though such an ugly and unbecoming incident occurred on 16th October 2008 inside the office premises and that too during the office hours and even though the victim lady …………..Assistant, P&GS Unit, Bhubaneswar has immediately lodged a written complaint with the SDM, LIC if India, Bhubaneswar Division with a prayer to give her due justice, the Bhubaneswar Divisional management has not taken any worth mentioning steps on such a serious matter and has tried to wash off its hands by referring the complaint to a hurriedly constituted Divisional cell. Even after lapse of over one month, the Divisional cell has not started its enquiry let alone investigating the matter. Even the victimized lady’s request to transfer the accused officer from that office so that the enquiry process is not vitiated is not acceded to, which is nothing but blatant violation of the LIC’s CO circular and the verdict of the Supreme Court. Rather, direct and indirect threats are hurled at the concerned lady employee pressurizing her to withdraw her complant. Even the management was made aware of all these by our organization, no step has been taken till date purportedly to shield the erring officer”.
The Employees Association, “while condemning such uncivilized action of the erring officer and the inaction of the management” has demanded that urgent steps be taken to “punish the guilty and give justice to the victim and till then, to transfer the concerned officer from his present place of posting in interest of justice and fairplay”.
The LIC Chairman has been asked to “take note that any delay in taking action against Mr. Tripathy is the same as abating in continuous humiliation and harassment” of the insulted lady. He is surprisingly silent.