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Telengana- IAS officer sues Outlook for sexist piece

Have come a long way since Stone Age says Smita Sabharwal IAS in legal notice to Outlook 
Telangana / MediaTuesday, June 30, 2015 – 

Weekly news magazine Outlook has landed itself in fresh trouble after Smita Sabharwal, an IAS officer in the Telangana Chief Minister’s office has sent a legal notice to the magazine for carrying a sexist piece on her.

In a legal notice sent by Smita Sabharwal’s lawyer Rachna reddy, Outlook has been slammed by the IAS officer with the article being called “distasteful, cheap and titillating”.

In a recent edition, Outlook had published a piece titled ‘No boring Babu‘ in its ‘Deep Throat’ column. The piece spoke about how the bureaucrat is present at every meeting making a “fashion statement with her lovely saris and serves as ‘eye candy’ at meetings.”

The legal notice says that Sabharwal was “utterly flabbergasted, shell shocked, angry and extremely disturbed by the article.”
The five page legal notice sent to Outlook’s editor-in-chief Krishna Prasad and Hyderabad based assistant editor Madhavi Tata alleges that Outlook has deliberately played mischief by implying that Sabarwal’s portfolio was a mystery.
It also says that “Sabarwal’s hard work, dedication and her excellence at her chosen profession are washed away by the mere fact of her being an attractive, young and successful woman who has also accomplished quite a lot professionally, owing to her dedication and perseverance”

The legal notice points out that Outlook had conveniently chosen to not point out that Sabarwal was present at the fashion show with her husband Dr Akun Sabarwal, who is also an IPS officer, presently Director, Drugs Control Administration, Telangana.
Sabarwal has demanded a detailed public apology through Outlook that is “visible and of the same dimensions and verbiage as the frivolous and vexatious article that you seem to think is satirical.”

Sabarwal specifically says that the apology cannot be a non-descriptive one in a tiny section of the magazine but a detailed apology that meets the outrage and hurt that she has been subject to.

Outlook has been given a 15 day notice to act on the notice failing which Sabarwal has threatened to file civil and criminal suit against the magazine including defamation, damages and criminal action.


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Smita who is known as the “people’s officer” has a lot of things to her credit. Born in 1977, the 2001 batch IAS officer cracked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam and secured the 4th rank, all by the age of 22.

Her first independent charge was as Sub Collector, Madanapally in Chittoor. After almost a decade of working in various districts of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, she took charge as District Collector, Karimnagar district in April 2011.

Her brain child programme in the health care sector, ‘Ammalalana’ that sought to improve institutional deliveries in the public sector was started and successfully implemented in Karimnagar during her regime and serves as a role model for many health initiatives of ‘high risk pregnancy management targeting.

This initiative was also nominated as one of the best initiatives for the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in public administration. Karimnagar Town also underwent a complete facelift and was awarded the best district in PM’s 20 Point Programme for 2012-2013.

She also successfully conducted an incident-free poll in Medak where she was serving as the District Collector during the General Elections 2014 registering a high polling turn out.

She was appointed as Additional Secretary to the chief minister’s office on June 6, 2014, four days after the state of Telangana celebrated its formation day and has been considered one of the finest IAS officers in the state.

This is not the first time however Outlook has been accused of misogyny. Recently, the magazine was at the receiving end of a backlash over it’s article on Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

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