A shocking story has been reported in Times of India about the resignation of an Additional District and Sessions Judge in Gwalior who was allegedly sexually harassed by a sitting High Court judge, who was her administrative judge.
It is ironical that the lady who resigned was also the Chairperson of District Vishaka Committee, which looks after the sexual harassment complaints. On resigning from the post, she had sent a detailed complaint to the CJI and Senior Judges of the Supreme Court. In the complaint, she has mentioned in detail about the nature of harassment she had to under go.
News paper reports “the administrative judge sent her a message through the district registrar to "perform dance on an item song" at a function in his residence. She avoided the function on the pretext of her daughter's birthday. The very next day of sending a message to dance in his residence, the administrative judge told her that "he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor and that he is desperate to see the same", she alleged. The judge got angry when she did not pay heed to his "various advances and malicious aspirations". She was subjected to intense scrutiny by the administrative judge. He got more agitated when no fault was found, she said” In her complaint, she said, "The administrative judge, along with district judge and district judge (inspection), possibly made a false, frivolous, baseless and malicious reporting to the chief justice of MP and got me transferred on July 8, in the mid-academic session of my daughters to a remote place Sidhi by overruling the transfer policy of MP HC."
The paper also names the Judge who is alleged to have harassed. Sexual harassment being a cognizable and non-bailable criminal offence, the law will have to take its course very soon. This is the third incident of alleged sexual harassment reported in recent times. The two former cases were by former Supreme Court judges.
Speaking to The Hindu, Chief Justice Lodha said “The complaint is not before me. I have not yet received the complaint from the woman judge. Once a formal complaint is received I will call for a report from the Madhya Pradesh HC Chief Justice. This is the first thing we do normally. I will initiate action against the judge concerned based on the report.”
Asked whether a three-judge committee would be constituted to probe into the allegations as contemplated in the Restatement of values, that govern the code of conduct of judges, the CJI said “I don’t know whether the High Court chief justice has received the complaint. First, there must be a prima facie case against the High Court judge. This could be verified only by the High Court Chief Justice. As and when we get a report from the Chief Justice after initial probe, constitution of the three-member committee can be considered.”