SC for reinstating judge whose harassment plaint was rejected
The Supreme Court asked the Madhya Pradesh high court to respond to the plea by the judge for reinstatement and adjourned the matter. It will now be taken up in March.Updated: Feb 13, 2020 03:18 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its inclination to reinstate a former district judge from Madhya Pradesh (MP) whose sexual harassment allegations against a judge of MP high court were held to be unfounded in 2017 by a committee constituted by Rajya Sabha.
The former additional district and sessions judge resigned in 2014 after she was transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi. She had alleged that the transfer happened after she declined to entertain alleged sexual advances by a high court judge.The Supreme Court asked the Madhya Pradesh high court to respond to the plea by the judge for reinstatement and adjourned the matter. It will now be taken up in March.
The former judge, after resigning from her job, wrote to Supreme Court judges in 2014 and detailed what she claimed was her ordeal. An internal committee set up by the Supreme Court to probe her allegations submitted a report in 2015, stating that it did not find sufficient evidence against the accused high court judge. Later, 58 MPs sought impeachment of the high court judge, based on which the then vice president Hamid Ansari set up a committee in 2016 to probe the allegations.
The committee, comprising Supreme Court’s justice R Banumathi, former Calcutta high court chief justice Manjula Chellur, and senior advocate KK Venugopal, submitted its report in December 2017 holding that the charges against the accused high court judge were not proven.
The committee, however, concluded that there was interference with the transfer of the judge and recommended that she be reinstated in service if she was willing to rejoin. The judge then approached the Supreme Court in July 2018 seeking reinstatement.
When the matter was taken up for hearing on Wednesday by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for the former judge, pointed out that the Rajya Sabha committee recommended her reinstatement. CJI Bobde remarked that it would not be appropriate to send the matter back to the high court and proceeded to ask Jaising whether the petitioner would be willing to work outside the state.
Jaising told the court that the petitioner wants to “move on” with her life and would be ready to work in any place in northern India.
CJI Bobde commended her for the “right attitude” and sought a response from MP high court. Jaising will also furnish to the court a list of places where the judge would be willing to work