Panel to look into woman judge's complaint

Issue also discussed at length in Rajya Sabha

Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice A M Kanwilkar has set up a panel to look into the complaint of a woman judge, who quit as additional district and sessions judge of Gwalior after levelling sexual harassment charges against a sitting HC judge.

The information about setting up of the panel was forwarded to Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, who had earlier directed the HC to complete the probe into the matter expeditiously, said sources.

The woman judge had accused the administrative judge of the HC of demanding sexual favours. She had also said he wanted her to “dance to an item number”, after he had shown “more than normal interest” in her work.

The judge in question, however, rejected the charges and offered to face the death penalty if the allegations were found to be true.

The CJI had promised probe into the matter, saying: “It is a very serious issue. All versions will have to be taken into account. Let me go through it.”
The SC registry received an email regarding the allegations in the first week of this month.

In her nine-page representation to the CJI, the woman judge, who herself headed the district-level sexual harassment committee set up under Vishakha guidelines, had stated that the HC judge had some months ago started showing undue interest in her work, and had gradually started making “coloured remarks” about her.

The woman judge was transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi in the middle of her daughter’s academic career, forcing her to put in her papers on July 15.

The issue was also raised in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, with senior lawyer and nominated member K T S Tulsi demanding immediate action on the woman judge's complaint, saying that it would otherwise demoralise women judges in the country.

Raising the issue during the  Zero Hour, Tulsi said there has been an “inordinate delay” in examining the allegations of the lady judge. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, however, said it is a matter “to be considered by the chief justice of India, and not us”.

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