The sentencing of Lalith De Silva the SriLankan Airlines Regional Manager New Delhi, who was convicted on the 16th of September 2020 by the Metropolitan Magistrate Court of New Delhi for insulting the modesty of one of his Indian national female staff members during the time he was stationed in New Delhi India, was postponed to the 18th March 2021 yesterday.
The case State Vs Lalith De Silva which was listed before Judge S.H. Dev Saroha, Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala Court House, New Delhi yesterday, for orders on sentencing to be awarded to the convict Lalith De Silva for an offence committed under section 509 of the Indian Penal code.
This offence carries a punishment of simple imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
When Colombo Telegraph contacted Lawyer Ajay Verma the Advocate for the victim, he said “As per procedure at the time of the award of sentence, the Metropolitan Court insisted upon the physical presence of the convict Lalith De Silva be present in Court. He nevertheless was present through video conferencing as currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic virtual court hearings are taking place and lawyers and parties are permitted to mark their presence through the usage of Cisco WebEx Meeting platforms.”
The violation and conviction of the Indian Penal Code 509 is defined as “whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine”.
As per court records as stated by the complainant, the incident had flared up when on the 8th of October 2009 the Regional Manager De Silva had called his Indian national female Sales Executive to his room at the SriLankan Airlines Delhi Office and had asked her “Did your husband fuck you? How was it? What shall I call you now, a prostitute, hooker or bitch?”
Despite being harassed by Lalith de Silva, the victim whose hometown is also New Delhi was further punished, when he transferred her to work in SriLankan Airlines office in Kochi. This is despite her maintaining a good record as an employee of the airline for twelve straight years.
Earlier Colombo Telegraph following this incident published three stories on the 16th of September 2020 titled “SriLankan Airlines Manager Convicted for Sexual Harassment in Delhi: “Did Your Husband Fuck You? How Was It?” – He Asked, She Told Courts, on 19th of May 2016 titled “Delhi Court Summons SriLankan Airlines Management For Sexual Harassment Case” and on the 10th August 2016 titled “New Delhi Judge Summons SriLankan Airline Authorities For Sexual Harassment Case.”
A secondary case run concurrently against SriLankan Airlines for failure to have the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) as mandated under the sexual harassment of women at workplace Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal Act 2013, Law as applicable in India to investigate the complaints of Sexual Harassment made by employees.
That case which was taken up also at the Metropolitan Magistrates Court Patiala Court House New Delhi earlier today was also postponed till the 27th November 2020.
A verdict in this matter is expected to be given on this day, as arguments from both parties have now concluded. (By Janaka Ranawera)