The former Additional District and Sessions Judge, Gwalior, who resigned after alleging that she was sexually harassed by a sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court today moved the Supreme Court seeking justice.
Breaking her silence a month after she resigned, she alleged that the High Court judge who had sexually harassed her had threatened her with dire consequences.
Speaking to The Indian Express today, she said: “After my transfer, he told me: Aap mere bungalow par ek baar bhi akeli nahin aayi ho. Aapne meri baat na maanne ka parinaam bhugta hai. Aage dekhiye main aapka career tabah kar doonga, chaupat kar doonga (He told me that I had never visited his bungalow alone…that my transfer was the price I paid for not doing as he wished…Wait and watch as I destroy your career).”
The lady judge said she didn’t lodge a formal complaint against the HC judge as she wasn’t given an opportunity to do so.
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“Under the rules, it is only the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court who can conduct a discreet inquiry to verify the fact. Once he is convinced, he has to send a report to the Chief Justice of India. Finally, it is the CJI, who sets in motion the inquiry under the in-house procedure. I tried five to six times to meet the MP HC Chief Justice. But he was not ready to meet me. When the head of our judicial family in the state was not ready to meet, who could I turn to? To the District Judge, who was involved in the crime? To the other judge who was also involved? I could only have gone to the Chief Justice, the karta of the family. But, unfortunately, he was not even ready to see me. The procedure — in case the complaint is against a HC judge — is that the complaint has to be sent to the Chief Justice through the district judge. But in this case the district judge was also involved in my sexual harassment. He would have simply torn up the complaint and initiated action against me on some cooked-up charges,” she said.
She said the inquiry being conducted currently was a “sham and an eyewash” aimed at “continuing her harassment and saving the accused”.
“Judges refer to each other as brother and sister,” she said. “And, here I am, seeking justice from my seniors, my brothers, who are refusing to do anything only because a judge of the HC is the accused… they (judges) only want to save their brother and save the institution rather than save the dignity of a woman…Everyone is trying to secure the future of the brother notwithstanding the crime he has committed. Sister doesn’t exist now. This is the system I am fighting,” she said.
The former judge, who broke down while speaking to this reporter, said she had not resigned but had been “forced out of her job”.
“That was the aim of the judge. Either to fulfil his nefarious demands or be kicked out of the job. And, he succeeded,” she alleged.
She said that she had now filed a petition in the apex court seeking justice because “I hope to get justice and my dignity restored at the hands of my elder brothers in the Supreme Court.”
Asked if any attempt was made to get her to retract her resignation, the former judge said: “No. In fact, the speed with which everything happened, only strengthens my belief that no justice would have been done to me… The resignation was faxed to Jabalpur around 4-5 pm of July 15. On July 17, after being cleared by everyone, including the HC CJ and state Law Secretary, I was sent a fax informing me that my resignation had been accepted — in less than 48 hours… It was as if they were waiting for my resignation letter.”