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SC Rues the ‘Trend’ of Leveling Allegations Against Judges Who Are on Verge of Promotions

Supreme Court. (Image for representation/AFP)

Supreme Court. (Image for representation/AFP)

The bench was hearing a petition by a senior Madhya Pradesh district judge for quashing of sexual harassment charges levelled against him by a woman judicial officer.

The Supreme Court on Friday lamented the "trend" of leveling allegations against the judges right on the brink of their elevation or promotion. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde rued that this has become a regular phenomenon now.

"It is a regular phenomenon in our system that on the verge of something happening, all kinds of things start happening. Complaints are filed, news items appear and suddenly people remember what a bad man he is," remarked Justice Bobde.

The bench was hearing a petition by a senior Madhya Pradesh district judge for quashing of sexual harassment charges leveled against him by a woman judicial officer.

Senior lawyer R Balasubramanium, representing the district judge, pointed out that his client had an unblemished service of 32 years and there had never been any accusation against him.

"What has happened is so unfortunate. He was about to be considered for elevation to the High Court and suddenly this complaint from 2018 surfaces and an inquiry is initiated," submitted the senior counsel.

Balasubramanium added that the district judge is set to retire at the end of this year but he has been made to face sheer embarrassment.

At this, the CJI agreed with the senior lawyer that it has become a practice to level accusations when a judge is about to be elevated or promoted.

"What to do? This has become a trend. It has become a practice now," said Justice Bobde.

The court then issued notices to the Madhya Pradesh High Court and also stayed the disciplinary proceedings against the district judge.

The woman judge had lodged the complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace against the judge in March 2018. The principal district judge was transferred from Khandwa to Damoh pending the disciplinary proceedings against him.

The report submitted by the gender sensitisation and internal complaints Committee favoured further disciplinary actions against him, which was challenged by the district judge in the Supreme Court earlier too.

But in June, the bench had asked the district judge to first move the High Court with a writ petition. After thr High Court refused to give any relief to him, a fresh petition was moved in the top court again.

first published:September 04, 2020, 13:32 IST