#MeToo: Committee formed to investigate allegations on Vinod Dua dissolved
The External Committee, formed on the request of The Wire, to investigate sexual harassment allegations leveled against its contributing editor Vinod Dua has been dissolved. The committee couldn't complete its probe as it didn't have 'unconditional consent' from both sides. However, the committee clarified it would neither comment on the allegations nor on the counter allegations made by Dua. Here's what went down.
When the #MeToo hit storm India, many revered names bit the dust. Filmmaker Nishtha Jain spoke about Dua's misconduct in 1989. She had just stepped into journalism and her encounter with Dua was troublesome. Notably, he had categorically denied the claims and even used Jan Gan Man ki Baat, the show he hosted on The Wire, for this, sparking immense outrage.
Facing heat for giving its platform to an alleged sexual predator, The Wire tried amending its mistakes. It set up a committee which included Justice (Retired) Aftab Alam, Justice (Retired) Anjana Prakash, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, Prof Patricia Uberoi and Prof Neera Chandhoke. But the committee couldn't reach a conclusion after 'three meetings and hundreds of emails'. Hence, it didn't proceed further.
The committee received a written complaint from Nishtha and a rejoinder from Dua. Notably, Dua refused to be cross-examined by her or cross-examine her. Nishtha, on her part, doubted the way the committee was formed and "the fact that the Committee would itself be framing its own Terms of Reference and procedures." The committee noted the process took longer than it should have, already.
The committee noted that it "would like to put on record its frustration over a potentially useful exercise being aborted midway.... Had it been able to complete its work, it would have set a precedent for the future. Unfortunately, however, this has not been possible."
Further, the committee noted that before people set up something like this, they should seek 'unconditional consent in writing by all concerned'. It noted that if the procedure had been completed, it would have set a precedent for the future. Now that the committee is dissolved, it won't be in a position to invite any communication from anyone, the statement underlined.