Ex-judge denies charges, wants media gag on case

Ex-judge denies charges, wants media gag on case

National Green Tribunal Chairman Swatanter Kumar, accused of sexually harassing a former intern during his tenure as a Supreme Court judge, approached the Delhi High Court on Wednesday with charges of conspiracy and defamation against the intern and the media, and sought a gag order on reporting his case.

Justice Kumar demanded Rs 5 crore each in damages from the former intern and three media companies that published her complaint. He also denied that she worked for him as an official intern, as has been claimed by the law graduate so far.

The Delhi High Court will pronounce an interim order on Thursday on Justice Kumar’s petition, which also asked for restraint on media reportage of his case of alleged sexual harassment.“I will pronounce the order at 10.30 am tomorrow. In the meantime, you (media) can report the court proceedings. Nothing more, nothing less,” said Justice Manmohan Singh after a 90-minute-long hearing.

The petition wants the court to restrain two English news channels, an English daily, which had published details of the story on January 10, the former intern in particular and the rest of the media from publicizing the case.

A battery of senior lawyers led by Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Justice Kumar, contending that the complaint has surfaced after two and a half years, and is “baseless, fraudulent and motivated”.

Rohatgi said the “allegations are false, scandalous and a product of a conspiracy between the defendant no.5 (intern) and persons who have vested interests in destabilizing the institution of justice disposal,” said Kumar’s petition.

Justice Kumar’s plea said neither he nor the SC administration had granted her the internship. “The (intern) claims that she had applied for an internship in the office of the plaintiff, however, she was neither an intern nominated by the Supreme Court nor by the plaintiff himself.” It said his staff made an inquiry and found out that the claim that she was an official intern in the Supreme Court was “factually incorrect”.

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