Cannot allow sexual harassment cases to be swept under the carpet: SC

Published on Feb 26, 2021 07:22 PM IST

The judge sought quashing of disciplinary proceedings against him following the sexual harassment complaint by junior judicial officer.

The Supreme Court. (HT archive)
The Supreme Court. (HT archive)
ANI |

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed by a Madhya Pradesh district judge challenging the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the MP High Court over the sexual harassment allegations made by a junior judicial officer against him.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde granted him the liberty to appear before the inquiry.

The judge sought quashing of disciplinary proceedings against him following the sexual harassment complaint by junior judicial officer.

The Bench, refusing to entertain his plea while observing that "sexual harassment allegations cannot be brushed aside under the carpet."

"You are walking on a very thin ice you can fall any time. You may have a chance in the inquiry they conduct you may acquitted. But as matters stand now, you are convicted. Sexual harassment allegations cannot be brushed under the carpet like this," the bench told senior advocate R Balasubramanium appearing for the judge and granted him liberty to withdraw the case here with liberty to participate in the inquiry.

Earlier, the Bench had expressed its disinclination to quash the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the Madhya Pradesh High Court against Judge Shambhoo Singh Raghuvanshi, against whom a sexual harassment complaint was lodged after he sent inappropriate messages to a junior judicial officer.

Counsel appearing for MP High Court contended that the accused judge had accepted that he had sent the WhatsApp messages and that such conduct would make the atmosphere inconducive for judicial work.

The High Court's lawyer said that a senior judicial officer should have had been more appropriate with his conduct while dealing with a lady officer junior to him.

The judge's counsel had earlier informed the apex court that the lady officer has withdrawn her complaint under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, and therefore the disciplinary proceedings by the High Court are not maintainable.

In 2018, the sexual harassment complaint against the judge, thereafter he approached the Supreme Court to quash the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the High Court, but the top court had declined to entertain the same, asking him to approach the High Court instead.

After the High Court refused to entertain his plea, he again approached the top court.

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