New Delhi: Supreme Court to probe sexual charges on ex-judge

November 13, 2013 | By | Reply More

Nov 13, New Delhi: P. Sathasivan, chief justice of India, on Tuesday ordered a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against a former Supreme Court judge. A three-member committee of justices R.M. Lodha, H.L. Desai and Ranjana P Desai was asked to look into the claim of a woman lawyer who claimed in a blog that she was sexually harassed in December last year while she was doing her internship as a law student. The panel was to start its probe from Tuesday.

hromedia Supreme Court to probe sexual charges on ex-judge intl. news2“We cannot take it (allegation) lightly. As the head of the institution, I am also concerned about the allegation and anxious whether the statement is true or not,” chief justice P. Sathasivan said.

The intern, identified by news channel NDTV as Stella James, is now working as an advocate for an NGO. The alleged incident took place in December last year when the entire country, and the capital New Delhi in particular, witnessed unparalleled protests following the brutal rape of a physiotherapy student in a moving bus, which led to her death in a Singapore hospital late last year.

“Interning during the winter vacation of my final year in university, I dodged police barricades and fatigue to go to the assistance of a highly reputed, recently retired Supreme Court judge whom I was working under during my penultimate semester.

“For my supposed diligence, I was rewarded with sexual assault (not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating) from a man old enough to be my grandfather. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that long after I had left the room, the memory remained, in fact still remains with me,” she wrote.

Stella posted the blog last week. The incident, according to her, took place in a hotel room on Christmas eve.

According to her, she decided not to take action initially because she had no real ill-will against the accused judge and decided to speak out to prevent similar incidents in future.

“I bore, and still bear, no real ill-will towards the man, and had no desire to put his life’s work and reputation in question. On the other hand, I felt I had a responsibility to ensure that other young girls were not put in a similar situation,” she wrote.

“Frankly I was really shocked. There is this thing: a person who is a Supreme Court judge – you don’t expect a Supreme Court judge to harass somebody,” she added.

In an interview published in this month’s Legally India, a website dedicated to cover legal news, the woman lawyer disclosed that she knows of at least four other girls who have faced harassment from other judges.

No time-frame has been put for the three-member panel to file its findings, but it is expected that the three judges would submit their report soon.

Press journalist for HRO media – contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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