Centre wants recommendation to elevate K'taka judge withheld

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has asked the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to consider whether the Collegium should not withhold its recommendation to elevate a judge accused of sexual harassment to the Karnataka High Court until his innocence is proved by a "fair and judicious enquiry" by a lady judge.

In a three-page letter, the minister asked the CJI to consider if a discreet enquiry, even if it is by the Chief Justice of the High Court, was "fair, sufficient and conclusive" in a matter so sensitive as sexual harassment without adhering to the norms laid down by the apex court in the Vishakha judgement.

Prasad's letter comes days after the apex court's seniormost judge, Justice J Chelameswar, wrote to the judges of the Supreme Court alleging that the government has stalled P Krishna Bhat's elevation made by the Collegium on August 23, 2016.

The apex court judge had pointed out a discreet probe by the Karnataka High Court had absolved him of the charges of sexual harassment, levelled by a junior woman judicial officer.

The letter, written last week, said the records do not indicate that the complainant was "provided any chance to present her case and whether a lady judge of the (Karnataka) high court or a senior lady judicial officer conducted the enquiry".

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