Karnataka High Court on Monday dismissed District Judge S.N. Hakeem on charges of sexual harassment, after the inquiry conducted against him concluded that he was making women employees watch pornographic videos and photos on his official laptop. In the past, sexual harassment charges have been levied against and inquiry initiated against Justice A.K. Ganguly, Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Gangele.
As reported by The Hindu, the four year long inquiry resulted in the dismissal order being issued against the Judge, who was serving in Belagavi District. The Judge had joined the judicial service as a Munsif in 1987.
The inquiry had been initiated by the then Chief Justice asking the Vigilance Cell to initiate preliminary inquiry, after he received an anonymous letter in November, 2011, about allegations of sexual harassment against the Judge. Within a week, a woman employee had formally lodged the complaint against Judge Hakeem. She had alleged that the Judge was compelling women employees to watch porn on his official laptop.
The next month saw the Judge’s laptop being seized, and pornographic material being retrieved by the engineers of the High Court’s computer wing, with the help on experts.
During the inquiry that continued till July 2015, several women employees, who had worked under Judge Hakeem between 2008 and 2011, disclosed particulars of “exhibition of sexual proclivity” by him. They narrated instances of him misbehaving with them after calling them to take dictations, both at his chamber and residence.
Touching their legs under the table while giving dictations, using sexually colored words with them, making physical advances, exhibiting his private parts and touching private parts of the women employees, among others, were the charges leveled against him. On being refused, he would pass adverse remarks about their official work.
The Judge had claimed that some materials were “inserted” into his laptop by others. The investigating authority had however observed that the Judge had not suggested that the “evidences against him were created”.
The full-Court of the High Court had decided to dismiss him from service in November last year, after the Investigating Authority had concluded that charges were “proved” that the Judge’s conducts were “unbecoming of a judicial officer” and that he was guilty of “misconduct” as per the Karnataka Civil Services (Conduct) Rules.