A three-member panel constituted by the Supreme Court has exonerated a Madhya Pradesh high court judge of sexual harassment charges after he was accused of asking a junior woman colleague to dance to an item number.
The former sessions judge of Gwalior had lodged a complaint with the Chief Justice of India in August last year, alleging that Justice SK Gangele had sent her a message to “perform dance on an item song” at a function in his residence.
CJI HL Dattu had constituted the probe panel comprising two chief justices and a judge from the Rajasthan HC last year after the chief justice of the Karnataka high court gave a report and felt that the allegations warranted a deeper inquiry.
The panel gave its report to the CJI last week after giving a personal hearing to both the complainant and Justice Gangele. No other person was examined by it.
Sources said the CJI has accepted the report and a copy of it had been handed over to the former judge, who is likely to challenge it on the judicial side.
The woman judge resigned last year, saying she had to do so to protect her “dignity, womanhood and self-esteem”.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that though she avoided the function at Justice Gangele’s residence, the next day the judge allegedly told her that “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor and that he is desperate to see the same”.
Following the letter, the Madhya Pradesh HC chief justice had constituted an inquiry committee to probe the allegations, but on a challenge the SC quashed it.
Thereafter, the Karnataka HC chief justice was given the task to conduct a preliminary inquiry.
58 members of the Rajya Sabha had also submitted a petition to the Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari seeking initiating of an impeachment process against Justice Gangele.