‘We Can’t Allow Sexual Harassment Cases To Be Swept Under The Carpet’ : Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Judicial Officer’s Plea Against Disciplinary Proceedings

first_imgTop Stories’We Can’t Allow Sexual Harassment Cases To Be Swept Under The Carpet’ : Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Judicial Officer’s Plea Against Disciplinary Proceedings Srishti Ojha26 Feb 2021 12:29 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Friday asked a former District Judge from Madhya Pradesh to withdraw the petition filed by him challenging the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the MP High Court over the sexual harassment allegations made by a junior judicial officer. A three-judge Bench of CJI Bobde, Justice Bopanna and Justice Ramasubramanian has however granted him the liberty to…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Friday asked a former District Judge from Madhya Pradesh to withdraw the petition filed by him challenging the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the MP High Court over the sexual harassment allegations made by a junior judicial officer. A three-judge Bench of CJI Bobde, Justice Bopanna and Justice Ramasubramanian has however granted him the liberty to appear before the Inquiry. “We cannot allow sexual harassment cases to be swept under the carpet like this” the bench observed while hearing the case. “You are walking on a very thin ice you can fall any time.You may have a chance in the inquiry they conduct you may acquitted”, the bench told Senior Advocate Balasubramaniam, who was representing the petitioner. After hearing the arguments, the Bench stated that it will write a short order dealing with the petitioner’s contention and dismiss the Special Leave Petition. However, on the Senior Counsel Balasubramaniam’s request for liberty to withdraw, the Court granted him permission to withdraw the case with liberty to participate in the inquiry. In the Court’s previous hearing, Senior Advocate Ravindra Shrivastava,appearing for the Madhya Pradesh High Court, had read out the WhatsApp messages sent by the petitioner to the complainant lady officer. The High Court’s lawyer said that a senior judicial officer should have had been more appropriate with his conduct while dealing with a lady officer junior to him. The Bench had agreed and remarked that to flirt with a junior official is not an acceptable conduct for a judge. The CJI had orally said, “To flirt with a junior official is not an acceptable conduct for a judge”.”Yes, if that is permitted, the atmosphere will be too in-conducive for judicial work”, the HC’s lawyer had concurred with the CJI’s observation.’To Flirt With A Junior Not An Acceptable Conduct For A Judge’ : Supreme Court To MP Judge Facing Disciplinary Proceedings For Sexual HarassmentThe petitioner’s counsel, Senior Advocate R Balasubramanium, had informed the bench that the lady officer has withdrawn her complaint under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, and therefore the disciplinary proceedings by the High Court are not maintainable. The bench had however observed that the woman might have withdrawn the complaint “because of some embarrassment” and that will not preclude the High Court from initiating separate departmental proceedings on its own.”We find the WhatsApp messages quite offensive and improper”, the CJI had observed last week.”This matter before the Gender Sensitization Committee has come to an end with the lady refusing to participate. Now HC wants to proceed.It is duty bound to proceed also, in a departmental enquiry. Is there any law which can prevent the HC from proceeding with enquiry?. Right to departmental enquiry is an inherent right of the employer even if there is no provision in the service law”, the bench had orally said.In September 2020, the SC had stayed the disciplinary proceedings, while issuing notice on the petition filed through Advocate Sachin Sharma. Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img

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