If the belated and debatable complaint against Justice Swatanter Kumar is entertained (“SC to hear case against ex-judge,” Jan. 14), it is likely to do judges a disfavour. They are likely to feel humiliated and think that their service in the cause of the Indian judiciary has gone in vain. It cannot be denied that the image of the judiciary had gone up during the period when Justice A.K. Ganguly, unmindful of his career, exposed the government’s large-scale corruption in the 2G scam, and later as Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission questioned the government's violation of human rights. Therefore, his fear that powerful vested interests are behind the allegations cannot be lightly brushed aside, particularly since they have come so late.
Laws protecting women against sexual assault need to be guarded against every possible misuse. Belated allegations and possibly biased complaints should be thoroughly probed and stringent punishment for malicious charges ensured to meet the ends of justice.
Isn’t it because a former judge, A.K. Ganguly, stepped down as Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission that another case of a similar nature has come up? The alleged incident assumes seriousness in the light of modifications made to the law relating to rape under which even verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature will invite imprisonment. If a female employee chooses to be vindictive for any kind of rightful questioning made by the boss, such allegations can now be levelled against him. Naturally, the position of those occupying public office will turn precarious unless adequate steps are taken to prevent misuse of laws.
The urgency with which Justice Swatanter Kumar has moved the High Court on a day when the law intern’s plea is being heard in the Supreme Court, makes this legal battle almost like the mythical ‘David and Goliath’ one! This is an intimidating tactic by him to use his judicial reach to silence public opinion against alleged sexual harassment by members of the higher judiciary. One is left wondering whether the very fact that they showed preference for lady interns indicates any method to this madness. Also, the fact that so far with in the higher judicial set-up there is no in-house redress mechanism established, does create the doubt that such alleged harassment may have happened. The Supreme Court, which formed a committee to investigate the case against Justice Ganguly, should not now go against its own precedent.