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Intern moves SC against ex-judge, hearing on Jan 15

india Updated: Jan 14, 2014 01:26 IST
Supreme Court judge

A former law intern who made sexual harassment allegations against a former Supreme Court judge in the second such case has moved the apex court on Monday seeking an inquiry.

A bench headed by chief justice P Sathasivam, which took up the appeal for an urgent hearing, has agreed to take up the case on January 15.

The intern has, in her petition, challenged that the apex court's full-court resolution of December 5, 2013, which had said no complaint against its retired judges would be entertained.

The petitioner also submitted that a proper forum be constituted to conduct inquiry in such cases and her complaint should also looked into by the court just as it did in the earlier case involving Justice (retired) AK Ganguly.

The intern has made the retired judge, secretary general of the apex court and Union of India parties to the case.

She submitted that the former judge was a ‘sitting’ judge at the time of the alleged incident and the court must look into the complaint as per the Vishaka guidelines issued by it.

In the meanwhile, the retired judge facing the accusation has dismissed it as "incredulous and false" and "some kind of conspiracy".

The law intern’s petition comes after the administrative wing of the apex court refused to entertain her complaint citing its full-court resolution passed earlier (December 5).

The petitioner sought quashing of the resolution and setting up of a mechanism or forum to look into the complaints of sexual harassment.

Her demand has found support from Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising and leading lawyers Kamini Jaiswal, Harish Salve and Vrinda Grover. They said the present case was different from the one involving Justice (retd) Ganguly as the alleged incident took place when the accused was a ‘sitting judge’. In the case of Justice (retd) Ganguly, who too was accused of sexual misconduct, the alleged incident had happened after he had demitted office. Justice (retd) Ganguly had subsequently quit as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission after the union cabinet decided to seek a Presidential reference with a view to remove him from the rights body.

The petitioner in the present had said the incident took place in May 2012 when the accused was a sitting judge of the apex court. In her complaint, the intern had alleged the judge had placed his hand on her lower back when she was stepping out of his office room. "I felt quite uncomfortable and disturbed but I brushed it aside," she has said.

And subsequently, on another occasion when she went to the judge's room to apologise for a mistake she had committed, he told her not to worry and asked her to come over to his side of the desk. "When I did, he put his right arm around me and kissed me on my left shoulder. I was quite taken aback and shocked, and I excused myself and hurriedly left his room," she had alleged in her affidavit.