Legal Question in Federal Tort Claims in India

Ragini was working as a stenographer in Geotech Corporation - a Corporation in which the Government of India had 50% shares. In fact, the Government of India had more Directors in the Director Board. Ragini was married to Raghav and had two children. After 10 years of service Ragini was posted to the Managing Directorís office as his personal stenographer. She used to go with the Managing Director wherever he went on tour and it appeared that the Managing director developed a liking for Ragini but Ragini did not like any relation to be developed and tried her best to avoid the Managing Director.

There was a cell created by the organization for protecting women workers from sexual harassment. Fearful of the consequences on her good reputation Ragini did not complain against the overtures made by the Managing Director towards her, nor did she complain about his comments to her husband.

The Managing Director along with a team decided to undertake a foreign trip for promotion of the Corporationís business. The Managing Director, two directors, two general managers and two stenographers were included in the team, Ragini declined. But the Managing Director and others insisted for her joining and her husband persuaded her to accept the offer as she was to get a good amount by way of savings on foreign exchange.

Ultimately Ragini went with the team. While in a foreign country she was constrained to share a room with her stenographer colleague as there was lack of space. During the night he left the room and as per earlier understanding, let his Managing Director and the two General Managers into the room. Much against her wish they had sexual intercourse with Ragini. She made a hue and cry but they could calm her. She also calmed down as it was a foreign country.

On reaching India, Ragini was found depressed. Her Stenographer-colleague narrated what has happened in foreign country to his colleagues and Raghav questioned Ragini about it. She kept silence as the news would have wrecked the chances of marriage for her daughter. When her husband again questioned, she kept mum and in the same night after leaving a letter she committed suicide.

Based on the details in the suicide note the police initiated investigation and the case was tried by the Sessions judge, who found the three (M.D. and 2 G.Ms.) guilty of rape, on the statement of the stenographer-colleague who turned an approver. They were convicted and sentenced for 10 years imprisonment. On appeal the High Court confirmed the conviction but reduced the sentence to 5 years imprisonment. The State did not elect to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Angana Samrakshana Samithi, a voluntary organization filed petition before the Supreme Court and prayed for enhancing the sentence. It also argued that it was the stenographer-colleague who immediately caused the commission of the suicide and that he was made an approver. Samithi prays for punishing him.

The Samithi also prayed for awarding compensation to the dependants of the victim based on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and some leading judgments of the Supreme Court. It also argued that the State was also tortiously liable as the Corporation was owned by the State. The State and Corporation controvert these arguments and try to establish that they are neither liable under the public law nor under the tort law.

i want to know how the state can defend

Asked on 4/07/13, 7:29 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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