The Bombay High Court has suspended a sessions court judge on charges of sexually harassing a female staff worker.
M T Gaikwad, presiding over a special Narcotics Drugs and Psychotrophic Substances Act (NDPS) Court in South Mumbai, was suspended last week after a preliminary inquiry found substance in the complaint by the staff member about his “inappropriate behaviour”.
“The judge was suspended on August 14 after holding a preliminary inquiry,” Shalini Joshi, Registrar General of the Bombay High Court, said.
The complainant had alleged that the judge used to stare at her quite often in an offensive manner. During the preliminary inquiry, the allegation made by the complainant was corroborated by other employees, high court sources said.
The complaint was filed against the judge early this month.
The preliminary inquiry was conducted by another special judge S D Tulankar, who presides over a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSOA) court.
According to the procedure, a judge under suspension faces a departmental inquiry either by a senior sessions court judge or a judge of the high court as decided by its Chief Justice.
During the departmental inquiry, a charge sheet is served on the suspended judge with a copy to the complainant and the presiding judge examines the witnesses.
Only after a departmental inquiry finds the suspended judge guilty of the offences alleged against him does the punitive action under the state civil rules follow.
Gaikwad was the judge of the NDPS court for the last five months. Prior to that, he was posted as a civil judge in Parbhani.
False cases play havoc with the crime statistics and tend to trivialise the offence of rape.