The Supreme Court will hear Wednesday a plea by a law intern who has alleged former apex court judge Swatantar Kumar sexually harassed her in 2011 – while he was a sitting judge – while she was doing internship with him.
Justice (retd.) Swatanter Kumar has rubbished the allegation.
A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would hear the plea Wednesday after senior counsel Harish Salve mentioned it for an early hearing.
Besides seeking probe into her allegation of sexual harassment against Justice Swatantar Kumar who currently heads the National Green Tribunal, the law intern has also sought the quashing of Dec 5, 2013 decision of the full court that it would not entertain complaints against its former judges on the administrative side.
The law intern has also sought the setting of a probe committee to be headed by a woman with members outside the Supreme Court to inquire into the her complaint filed by way of an affidavit.
The law intern in her petition has sought the declaration that her rights under articles 14, 15, 19(i)(g) and 21 of the constitution have been violated by her sexual harassment at the work place by a sitting judge of the apex court.
The intern in her petition filed under article 32 has also sought direction for setting up a permanent mechanism to enquire into the complaints of sexual harassment against all the judicial officers sitting or retired, whether while holding office or not.
She said that such a permanent mechanism is contemplated in Vishaka direction issued by the apex court to take cognizance of sexual harassment at work place.
An inquiry into her complaint of sexual harassment by a sitting judge in 2011 would “restore the credibility of the of the judiciary as it concerns the integrity of the one of the most important organ of the constitutional governance, namely the judiciary”, the intern said in her petition.
The law intern in the latest case belongs to the Kolkata-based National University of Judicial Sciences to which the earlier law intern, who had levelled allegation of sexual harassment against Justice A.K. Ganguly that led to his resignation as the head of the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission, too belonged.
The distinction between this allegation and the case of Justice Ganguly is this law intern was interning with Justice Swatanter Kumar was a sitting judge of the apex court. Ganguly had retired when the alleged incident involving him happened.