'Permit me to die': UP woman judge alleges sexual harassment; CJI seeks report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

CJI Chandrachud seeks report on allegations of sexual harassment by UP judge after she seeks permission to end life

By, New Delhi
Dec 15, 2023 09:28 AM IST

The woman judge asked for the CJI’s permission to end her life following the abuse and harassment she had endured in her career during her posting in Barabanki

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud on Thursday sought a status report from the Allahabad high court administration on the status of an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment raised by a woman civil judge in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district against a district judge of the state judiciary and his associates.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) justice DY Chandrachud (ANI)
Chief Justice of India (CJI) justice DY Chandrachud (ANI)

The development comes on a day when the woman judge’s letter to the CJI went viral on social media. In the two-page letter, the woman judge asked for the CJI’s permission to end her life following the abuse and harassment she had endured in her career during her posting in Barabanki, including unsettling incidents with the district judge there.

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“I have no will to live anymore. I have been rendered to a Walking Corpse in the last year and a half. There is no purpose in carrying this soulless and lifeless body around anymore. There is no purpose left in my life. Kindly permit me to end my life in a dignified way,” said the letter that became public on Thursday.

According to people aware of the matter, Supreme Court’s secretary general Atul M Kurhekar, on the instructions of the CJI, wrote to the registrar general of the Allahabad high court on Thursday evening, asking for the status of the proceedings before the internal complaint committee (ICC) that is dealing with the complaint of the judge.

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“The Supreme Court administration, under the direction of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, has taken the cognisance of the matter on the administrative side and has sought a report from the registrar general of the Allahabad high court. After the report is received, appropriate follow-up measures will be taken,” people cited above told HT.

The woman judge could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.

She filed a petition before the Supreme Court on December 4, which came up for hearing on Wednesday before a bench led by justice Hrishikesh Roy. During the proceedings on Wednesday, the bench said that it does not need to issue any judicial order for the time being because an ICC was already seized of the woman judge’s complaint. The bench had observed that the ICC was constituted on the woman judge’s complaint and therefore, she should wait.

“Since the Internal Complaints Committee is already in session of the matter and a resolution is already passed which is pending approval of the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, we see no reason to entertain this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. The writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” the order on Wednesday recorded.

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The woman judge, in the letter made public on Thursday, said that her case was dismissed by the Supreme Court after eight seconds of hearing.

She said in the letter that the district judge in question had asked her to meet him at night. Though a complaint had been given to the Allahabad high court chief justice and the administrative judge in 2022, no action was taken till date, she contended. Later, she filed a complaint with the internal complaints committee of the high court in July 2023.

“It took six months and a thousand emails just to start an enquiry. The proposed enquiry is also a farce and a sham. The witnesses in the enquiry are immediate subordinates of the district judge. How the committee expects the witnesses to depose against their boss is beyond my understanding,” she said in the letter.

Her letter further said that she had asked for the transfer of the district judge during the pendency of the inquiry so that a fair examination of facts would be possible, but her plea was turned down.

In the letter, she also indicated that she had attempted suicide in the past.

A grievance regarding a complaint against a judge can be taken up for inquiry by the concerned high court or the Supreme Court as per the in-house procedure. As per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, grievances against judicial officers are required to be sent on sworn affidavit with verifiable facts to the registrar general of the concerned high court. Based on the charges in the affidavit, the high court administration, under the directions of its chief justice and the administrative judge, orders an inquiry.

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