The Supreme Court today asked the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court to divest one of his colleagues, accused of sexually harassing a former woman Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), from undertaking all administrative and supervisory functions.
A bench headed by Justice J S Khehar also held that the Chief Justice of the MP High Court travelled beyond his jurisdiction by constituting a two-judge committee to look into the allegations of the woman subordinate judge.
“The Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, in the present case, travelled beyond the jurisdiction. The two-judge committee should have been formed at the second stage of investigation,” it said.
The bench also said that the second stage of in-house inquiry proceedings have to be commenced by the Chief Justice of India.
It said that “to ensure the fair and just inquiry, it is imperative to divest respondent number 3 (the judge concerned)” of supervisory and administrative functions.
The apex court said that the Chief Justice of India may re-initiate the in-house proceedings or may ask the Chief Justice of other high court to do the same.
Earlier, the apex court had restrained the media from covering the proceedings in the case. It, however, had said that the judgement can be reported.
The Supreme Court had on August 29 stayed an August 8 order of the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court setting up a judicial panel to probe the allegations levelled by the former woman judge.
The former Gwalior judge, who had resigned alleging sexual harassment by the HC judge, had moved the apex court raising questions over the judicial panel to look into her complaint.
In her plea, she had said that her resignation is a “constructive termination” and she be reinstated with all consequential benefits.
She had said the HC order of August 8 constituting a judicial panel should be quashed as she felt it will not do justice to her. She had earlier also raised objections to the inclusion of an MP High Court judge in the committee set up to go into her complaint.
She had said the judge, who had harassed her sexually, was still discharging judicial and administrative functions over the staff who were working with her and have witnessed her victimisation.
The Gwalior judge had also objected to the summons being sent to her husband and daughter to be present at the inquiry.