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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Harassment charge may force ex-judge to quit post

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 11, 2014
First Published: 23:11 IST(11/1/2014) | Last Updated: 01:43 IST(12/1/2014)

The continuation of a retired Supreme Court judge — accused of allegedly sexually harassing a law intern — as the chairperson of a national tribunal appeared uncertain on Saturday with the government terming the allegations as serious.

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Though the former SC judge has strongly denied the allegations, demands are growing for a probe into the “unwelcome advances” made by him as a serving SC judge towards a law intern in May-June 2011.

Following a full court meeting of the Supreme Court judges on December 5 in which it was decided that it was not for the top court to decide about any action on complaints against former judges, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam had declined to entertain the intern’s affidavit.

Petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily, who also holds the charge of environment ministry, said the allegations appeared to be serious and the SC should probe them.

“For what has appeared in the media, the allegations if proved are serious, the Supreme Court should look into it,” Moily told HT.

According to the national tribunal act, whose chairperson is the former SC judge, the government can remove its chairperson only in consultation with the CJI and that too after an inquiry by the Supreme Court holds him guilty.

The government, however, has the power to suspend the chairperson once it makes a reference to the Supreme Court for a probe into the allegations against him.

The former SC judge, however, has got the support of the tribunal’s bar association. In a statement after its emergency meeting, the lawyers said the demands for his resignation were “based on a one-sided mere assertion in an affidavit” amounted to mob-lynching.


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