Supreme Court asks HCs to form anti-sexual harassment panels in all courts within 2 months

The Supreme Court today asked chief justices or acting chief justices of all high courts to set up anti-sexual harassment committees in courts across the country within two months in accordance with a 2013 law.
It also requested Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal of the Delhi High Court to constitute the panel in the high court and in all district courts in the national capital within a week.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a petition filed by a practising woman advocate who alleged that she had been assaulted by some lawyers observing a strike at the Tis Hazari district court complex here.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked the woman lawyer and the Bar leaders to amicably settle their disputes and directed that advocates from both sides should not be arrested in connection with the two cross FIRs filed by them against each other.

The bench asked the crime branch of Delhi Police to investigate the cross complaints filed by the lawyers.

The bench transferred the trials, which would arise from the two cross FIRs, to the Patiala House district court in New Delhi and asked the Bar leaders not to interfere with the administration of justice.

The bench then disposed of a writ petition filed by the lady lawyer against the advocates and some members of Delhi Bar Association for allegedly assaulting her.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 requires every workplace to set up committees to probe sexual harassment complaints.

Strengthen humans rights panels in states: Balakrishnan

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice K.G. Balakrishnan Tuesday said the state governments should take steps to strengthen their human rights commissions to facilitate good governance.

Speaking at a meeting of the State Human Rights Commissions here, Balakrishnan said they are for the help of the administration and the people of the country to achieve their social, cultural and economic rights.

Emphasising the need to strengthen the human rights panels in states, he said: “Mere setting of the State Human Rights Commission will not serve any purpose, if they are not provided with sufficient manpower and infrastructure for their effective functioning.”

He also asked the State Human Rights Commissions to improve their complaint management systems with the help of the NHRC.

There are 18 state-level Human Rights Commissions in the country.

Nanavati panel’s stand June 30 on summoning Modi

The suspense on the stand of the Nanavati-Mehta judicial inquiry commission, probing the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, on summoning Chief Minister Narendra Modi for questioning will continue till June 30.

The state government pleader Friday submitted a sealed cover to Gujarat High Court’s special bench of Chief Justice S.J.Mukhopadhyaya and Justice Akil Kureshi containing the commission’s stand on the Jan Sangharsh Manch’s demand for summoning Modi. The envelope shall be opened in court June 30.

Mukul Sinha, representing the Jan Sangharsh Manch, questioned the need for such lengthy process and argued the commission’s decision could have been announced. However, he was advised restraint for five more days.

The Manch had filed the petition in the high court seeking direction to the commission to summon Modi after the commission held up a decision on the issue for over three years. The Manch had also demanded summoning six others, including some top bureaucrats and police officials, for cross questioning.