Says inclined to consider a mechanism to deal with allegations made against retired judges and judicial officers

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and Justice Swatanter Kumar on a writ petition filed by a law intern alleging sexual harassment by him.

The apex court also said it was inclined to consider a mechanism to deal with allegations made against retired judges and judicial officers.

The notice to Justice Kumar came even as the former judge moved the Delhi High Court, seeking a direction to gag the media on reporting the allegations made by the law intern.

His lawyer, however, did not seek a blanket ban, submitting that the media could report court orders. The High Court will pass an order on Thursday.

In the apex court, Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam, after hearing senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for the intern, decided to examine the issue and appointed senior advocates Fali Nariman and P.P. Rao as amicus curiae.

In its order, the Bench said as “there is no mechanism to inquire into complaints of sexual harassment against all judicial officers, sitting or retired judges, whether while holding office or not,” the court was inclined to consider these aspects.

The court later issued notices to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court, Justice Kumar, currently Chairman of the National Green Tribunal, and the Centre.

The Bench said: “In view of the importance of the issues raised and to formulate a permanent mechanism, we seek the assistance of Mr. Fali S. Nariman and Mr. P.P. Rao, senior members of the Bar, to act as amicus curiae. It is made clear that at this moment, we are not expressing any opinion on the averments/allegations made by the petitioner.”

The Bench initially questioned Mr. Salve about the intern’s delay in filing the complaint and pointed out that the alleged harassment took place in May 2011.

The Bench said the “intern was a law graduate and reported the incident to her parents and teachers the same day.” “What is the explanation for the delay?” it asked Mr. Salve.

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