The allegation by a law intern that she was sexually harassed by a retired Supreme Court judge is serious. Even more serious is her reported statement that she is not for pursuing the charge (Nov. 19). Women’s organisations should persuade the intern to speak out. Otherwise, such complaints will not be taken seriously in future.
I am a junior lawyer, a former law intern and an advocate of women’s rights. An allegation of sexual harassment puts an indelible blot on the character, conduct and reputation of the accused. It is particularly serious in the case of the law intern as the charge pertains to one of the highest constitutional functionaries. Such charges should not be made lightly or taken lightly, and the complainant should not be allowed to drop them at will.
The reputation of the judiciary is at stake. Whether or not the complainant desires, the charge must be investigated and, if the judge is found guilty he should be punished. On the other hand, if the allegations are found untrue, the complainant should be punished for making defamatory statements.
The intern’s explanation that she just wanted to sensitise society to the fact that such things happen even in high places cuts no ice. People know that the Supreme Court is not as sacred as it is often made out to be. Unless she pursues the matter to its logical conclusion, no one will pay attention to such allegations in future. It will only encourage the offenders.