Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari has admitted a motion for impeachment of Justice S.K. Gangele of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, on charges of sexual harassment against him by a former Additional District and Sessions Judge.
A Rajya Sabha Bulletin said, “The Chairman has, under section 3 of the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, admitted the following Motion received from Shrimati Wansuk Syiem and other Members (total fifty-eight) the notice of which was given under Article 217 read with Article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India.”
This motion will be followed by the constitution of an inquiry panel comprising a Supreme Court judge, the chief justice of a high court and a distinguished jurist.
Earlier this month, a motion for removal was submitted by 58 member of the Rajya Sabha for initiating the impeachment process.
The motion, as submitted by the Rajya Sabha Members, under Article 217 read with Article 124 of the Constitution spells out three reasons for initiating the process:“sexual harassment of a woman Additional District and Sessions Judge of Gwalior while being a sitting judge of the Gwalior Bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh”;“victimization of the said Additional District and Sessions Judge for not submitting to his illegal and immoral demands, including, but not limited to, transferring her from Gwalior to Sidhi”; and “misusing his position as the Administrative Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh to use the subordinate judiciary to victimize the said Additional District and Sessions Judge.”
In an appalling revelation, the female Judge had alleged being sexually harassed by her administrative Judge. She subsequently had to resign to guard her “dignity, womanhood and self-esteem”. Read the Live Law story here.
The HC Judge had however denied all allegations and has reportedly offered to face any probe by any agency including an investigating agency, ready to “face any penalty, even the death penalty”.
A few female lawyers had demanded an impeachment proceeding against the Judge. They have reportedly moved a resolution in the Supreme Court Bar Association demanding an enquiry into the matter. Commenting on the impeachment motion, senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising, advocate for the former judge, said, “It is a welcome step. I am very hopeful that justice will finally be done to the lady who had to resign, while the HC Judge, who stands accused of such a serious offence, continues in office.”
CJI Lodha had hence urged the formation of a panel comprising of senior Judges in order to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment. Read the Live Law story here.
The woman Judge had however contended that until the MP High Court Judge continues to assume his post, the witnesses would not be able to depose in a free and fair manner. She further alleges that one of the two members in the panel had once transferred her and that might lead to prejudice in the investigation. Read the Live Law story here.
Consequently, in December last year, the Supreme Court had quashed the inquiry initiated by MP High Court and had directed the Chief Justice of the High Court to divest the accused Judge of the administrative and supervisory control vested in him, in order to ensure that the investigative process in fair and just. Read the judgment here.
You may read more news about the case here.