Last year Super 30 director Vikas Bahl became accused of sexually harassing a girl. He had to step aside from Super 30 and his Phantom Films Production companion Anurag Kashyap stepped in to supervise the post-manufacturing work of the film. However, simply some time back, it was introduced that Vikas Bahl changed into reinstated as director and changed into cleared by using an Internal Complaints Committee.
According to a HuffingtonPost investigation, an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) that became set up to look at the allegations of sexual assault towards Bollywood director Vikas Bahl, cleared him with out following set up tactics or even interviewing the witnesses.
In March 2019, in step with the committee report, ICC inquired into the allegations on Bahl’s request. This is an uncommon exercise, as Indian legal guidelines do not have a provision for inquiries to be mounted at the request of a culprit who has been accused of sexual harassment on the place of job.
The committee turned into composed properly before the discharge of Bahl’s movie Super 30 and Bahl become speedy absolved of all expenses. This hasty process raised a lot of difficulty that the research turned into constructed best to clean Bahl from all prices and defend his traders, rather than the girl’s personnel of Phantom Films. Phantom Films have been set up Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Madhu Mantena and Vikas Bahl.
The panel was headed by using Vikramaditya Motwane’s mom Dipa Motwane. What’s even extra jarring is that the committee individuals did now not ask different women to depose, despite the fact that their memories towards Bahl have been submitted in a sealed envelope, in a defamation case filed through him in a Mumbai courtroom.
According to criminal professionals, the treatment of the case emphasizes on the shortage of clarity concerning the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, known as the PoSH act.
“The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) act failed to envisage most of the situations that #MeToo has thrown up, so a number of the investigations and inquiries being carried out due to #MeToo are outside the framework of PoSH,” Supreme Court proposes Mihir Sood told HuffingtonPost.
About Bahl, Phantom Films did not set up an ICC, while he turned into accused of harassing the girl in 2015. They did not form it even in October 2018, when the #MeToo fireplace was raging throughout the u. S . A.
“The manner wherein they have been managing the state of affairs, and that too after four years, became some thing that left me unsettled,” the lady had said. “So I became no longer amazed through the outcome. However, that doesn’t exchange my fact. He is aware of what he did, and he’s going to need to live with it.”
On March 12, in step with documents seen by way of HuffingtonPost, Bahl wrote to Phantom Films and requested them to conduct an inquiry into the allegations towards him, to offer him a threat to clear his name.
On March 18, 2019, the corporation informed him that the PoSH Act has no provision for an enterprise to initiate an inquiry on their initiative, without a formal grievance. By this time, the survivor became neither an employee at Phantom Films, as she had resigned in 2017, and had she asked for an ICC to be installation.
The next day, the female received an electronic mail from Persis Hodiwala, an attorney at Phantom Films Pvt. Ltd, asking her if she changed into willing to record a proper criticism against Bahl. The electronic mail did not mention that the inquiry had been asked with the aid of Bahl.
The female responded saying that the thing in which she had given her testimony, have to be treated as a proper grievance and he or she could choose not to attend the meetings.
“I stand by way of the announcement made using me inside the Huffington Post article and I request that this electronic mail, together with the allegations made inside the article, be handled by using a proper written complaint as required using you,” the female wrote.
The girl asserted that she might now not like to wait for any ICC conferences in man or woman and might no longer like to participate also proceedings as she had already said what she had wanted to mention.
Hodiwala conventional the item as the woman’s testimony, but requested her for supporting files, names of witnesses and their telephone numbers.
“In the event, you fail to wait for three consecutive ICC conferences; the ICC will not be left with another choice but to terminate the procedure of inquiry and near the criticism,” Hodiwala wrote.
“When I asked her who’d be present at these conferences and whether I might face Bahl, she (Hodiwala) informed me that wasn’t for me to realize,” the female said.
On May 2, the female wrote to Hodiwala and made her discomfort clear. “It is Phantom Films that has, of its own accord, installation this Internal Complaints Committee and sought to insist that I record a formal grievance.” the woman wrote. “While your new-observed enthusiasm to get the ball rolling is commendable, it is a case of too little being achieved some distance too past due. “Perhaps those at Phantom Films agree with that putting in this committee will rehabilitate the public photograph of its companions and the way they have carried out themselves.”
In the final file, which disregarded the accusations, the committee found out that it was set up on Bahl’s request and that it “wished to formally near the matter which, although no longer pursued with the aid of the Complainant, the pendency of which keeps affecting his intellectual, professional career and reputation.”
In the documents tested, it has become clear that it was Phantom Films and no longer Reliance Entertainment, the discern enterprise which had a 50% stake in Phantom, turned into carrying out the inquiry.
On June 2, there have been incorrect reports stating that the committee has been set up via Reliance Entertainment and there was a quote through the CEO Shibashish Sarkar, as pronouncing, “Yes, it is true that the inner proceedings committee document has exonerated Vikas Bahl. With the committee clearing Vikas Bahl, we don’t have a desire however to reinstate his credit score as director.”
This gave out the concept that Bahl had been cleared by using a panel constituted that became independent of Phantom Films.
Legal professionals say that the composition of the panel is off plenty importance as one cannot assume that an inquiry against a component-owner of an organization is fair and unbiased.
Sood said that the regulation doesn’t specify a process for when the accused is the senior-most man or woman within the corporation, but ethically it should be forwarded to the Local Complaints’ Committee for independent research. A Local Complaints Committee is a neutral body fashioned with the aid of the city collector, as envisaged in the PoSH Act.
According to the PoSH Act, Chapter three, Section 6 (1), Every District Officer shall constitute within the district worried, a committee to be known as the “Local Complaints Committee” to get hold of proceedings of sexual harassment: from establishments in which the Internal Complaints Committee has not been constituted due to having less than ten workers or if the grievance is in opposition to the business enterprise himself.”