On Tuesday the CJI observed that it has become a trend to level allegations against judges before being appointed to a higher post or Court.
This observation was made when the three-Judge Bench was dealing with a case where chances of elevation of a High Court Judge were spoiled after a female colleague accused him of sexual harassment. In that case, the woman refused to give evidence before the gender sensitisation committee.
Hon’ble CJI SA Bobde, all kinds of allegations, are levelled against judges when they are about to get something. In the past too, allegations have been levelled against judges.
Background of the Case:-
A civil judge of Madhya Pradesh cadre lodged a sexual harassment complaint against a District Judge when he was considered for elevation to High Court. The complainant produced WhatsApp texts to prove the allegations. However, she refused to give evidence to the gender sensitisation committee, following a reconciliation.
After going through the WhatsApp chats, MP High Court initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Judge and stated that his conduct was unbecoming of a judicial officer.
Senior Counsel R Balasubramanium, who represented the District Judge, submitted that the Court could not consider the evidence to start another proceeding once the parties have reconciled.
The Bench opined that the parties were adults and they can do whatever they want. However, the Court disapproved of the Whatsapp conversation and held that if HC wants to go ahead with the disciplinary proceedings, they can as the employer has an inherent right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against any employee.
Supreme Court told the District Judge( who retired last year) to withdraw his petition and face the disciplinary proceeding to question the evidence. The petitioner’s lawyer took a time of one week to get his client’s response.