Can’t ignore complaints of sexual harassment: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Friday said it “cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet” and directed a retired district judge of Madhya Pradesh to face disciplinary enquiry initiated against him by the high court on the allegations by a female judicial officer.
In her complaint in March 2018, the female judicial officer had accused the former principal district judge of Sheopur of sending lewd messages on WhatsApp. On April 2019, the Gender Sensitization Internal Complaint Committee (GSICC) recommended disciplinary proceedings against the judge even as it did not find any substance in the complaint.
“We cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet this way,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said. “You are walking on very thin ice....During the (disciplinary) inquiry; you may have a chance to be acquitted,” the bench told senior advocate R Balasubramanian who appeared for the judge.
It also asked the petitioner to join the enquiry. The counsel for the former judge then withdrew the appeal against the high court’s order. The complainant had also moved an application for conciliation and to end the enquiry. The application was rejected by GSICC.