A former law intern, who accused a former judge of sexually harassing her while in office in 2011, moved Supreme Court on Monday seeking an inquiry against the retired judge. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam, has agreed to take up the case on Wednesday.
In her plea, the young law intern said she also wants the Supreme Court to set up a mechanism to deal with cases of sexual harassment. Her plea follows an affidavit she had given to the Chief Justice of India in November which reportedly was not acted upon.
“There is a larger prayer: establish a permanent mechanism across the country in all judicial bodies so that any complaint against a judicial officer can find redress,” the woman’s lawyer Vrinda Grover said.
The ex-judge has denied the charges and has sued newspapers who published the former intern’s allegations against him. However, several senior advocates and activists have come out in support of the young woman. They say it’s time the top court walked the talk.
“The Supreme Court is undermining itself and forcing women to go to the media. It is inflicting indignity on itself. Action is being taken only when there’s public outrage and pressure. That must change and an internal mechanism must be set up,” lawyer Madhu Mehra said.
Last week, Justice AK Ganguly, another former Supreme Court judge indicted of sexual harassment, stepped down as Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. He had resisted giving up his post despite being indicted by a panel of serving top court judges.