India court to hear sex case against ex-judge

Supreme Court agrees to hear complaint of law intern against retired judge Swatanter Kumar.

    The Supreme Court will hear the plea of the law intern on Wednesday [EPA]
    The Supreme Court will hear the plea of the law intern on Wednesday [EPA]

    India's top court has agreed to hear the complaint of a female law intern in which she accused a former judge of sexually harassing her.

    Swatanter Kumar, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, has been accused by the intern of "unwelcome physical contact and sexual advances".

    Kumar has denied any wrongdoing.

    On Monday, the top court headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivan agreed to hear the plea of the intern on Wednesday, reports said.

    The intern has named Justice Kumar, Secretary General of the Supreme Court and Union of India as respondents in the case.

    The complaint comes in the wake of a similar allegation levelled against retired judge A K Ganguly by another intern. 

    Similar to the earlier instance, the intern also pleaded with the court to institute a committee to inquire into her allegations against Kumar. 

    Under Indian laws, the name of the female law intern cannot be publicised.

    Kumar is now the Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal, which deals with cases relating  to environmental issues.  

    The one difference in the latest case is that the intern has alleged that Kumar was a sitting judge at the time of the purported sexual harassment between May and June 2011.

    Legal notice

    Justice Kumar on Saturday sent a legal notice to several publications and news television channels demanding an apology for publishing the intern’s seven-page affidavit alleging sexual harassment against him.

    According to the Indian Express newspaper,  the female intern in the affidavit to chief justice P Sathasivam accused Kumar of “unwelcome physical contact and sexual advances”.

    The report, quoting her, said the intern after talking to her family, quit the internship mid-way and returned to her college. 

    Justice Kumar, in his reaction, told the Indian Express that the charges against him were false and totally incorrect. 

    In the case of former judge Ganguly, he was indicted and eventually forced to step down as chairman of the West Bengal state human rights commission following the sexual harassment case against him.  

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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