Former Supreme Court judge and National Green Tribunal chairperson justice (retd) Swatanter Kumar has denied the sexual harassment charges levelled against him by a woman lawyer who apparently interned with him in May 2011.
In a short affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, justice Kumar said: “The allegations, besides being false to the knowledge of the maker, are the result of the planned conspiracy against the answering respondent.”
A graduate from National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, the lawyer has moved SC seeking to constitute a permanent mechanism to deal with sexual harassment cases against retired and serving high court and top court judges.
On January 15 a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the Supreme Court registry, justice Kumar and Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF).
It, however, did not issue notice on the alleged victim’s challenge to SC’s administrative decision of December 5, 2013 declining to look into her complaint holding the judge accused had retired. The court will hear the petition on Friday.
“Such allegations are not only malicious but are intended to malign the image of the answering respondent,” justice Kumar stated in the three-page affidavit. “The answering respondent specifically denies all the allegations by the petitioner in regard to the alleged incidents of sexual harassment,” the affidavit said.
It even mentions the defamation suit filed by justice Kumar before the Delhi High Court against media houses, accusing them and the woman lawyer of defaming him.
In the suit justice Kumar has said the lawyer was never appointed through any official channel.
With regard to establishing a permanent mechanism to inquire into complaints of alleged sexual harassment against sitting and retired judges, justice Kumar said it was the top court’s discretion. SC has sought assistance of two senior advocates in the matter.
The NGT chairperson, however, supported the December 5, 2013 resolution passed by SC’s full court.