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The Supreme Court has banned a lawyer from entering its precincts for six months, after the top court's gender sensitisation panel found him guilty of stalking and harassing a female advocate.
This is the first order given against a lawyer by the top court's Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) that was constituted in November last year by Chief Justice P Sathasivam to fulfill the guidelines laid down by the SC in the Visakha judgment, which dealt with sexual harassment complaints.
The order debarring the lawyer, CS Nagesh, was passed by the CJI on the basis of the findings of the GSICC headed by justice Ranjana Prakash Desai. The committee had recommended Nagesh be banned from entering the SC for a year, but the CJI reduced the penalty to six months.
"This penalty, in my view, would not only allow him to redeem himself but also would operate as a deterrent against him," reads the circular issued by SC registrar Rachna Gupta, quoting the CJI's order of March 15.
The complainant works as a junior assistant with a female colleague and has been practicing for over three years now. In her complaint to GSICC given two months ago, the woman alleged Nagesh used to send her vulgar messages on her mobile phone. He continued with his acts despite her resistance, the inquiry had found.
In its annual report on January 31, the GSICC had said the committee had received two complaints from two women lawyers since its inception. It hadn't disclosed the names of the alleged offenders.
The GSICC has six other female members. There are two members who are not a part of the SC administration.