A judge in the apex court of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India has been accused of sexually harassing a female judge from a lower court, media reports said Monday.
The additional district and sessions judge, who also was part of a committee dealing with sexual harassment cases, resigned from her position last month and filed a complaint with the Chief Justice of India and the Union law minister, alleging that the senior judge harassed her during an event at his residence. The woman alleged, according to reports, that the high court judge attempted to demote her by transferring her to another location when she rejected his advances.
"I was left with no option but to resign, so, I resigned on July 15 in compelling, humiliating and disgraceful circumstances to save my dignity, womanhood, self-esteem and career of my daughter," she reportedly said in her complaint, because the judge "possibly made a false, frivolous, baseless and malicious reporting to the chief justice of MP (Madhya Pradesh)" to move her to a remote place in the middle of the school year by overruling the court's transfer policy, according to the Hindustan Times, a local newspaper.
In her complaint to the country's Chief Justice and other Supreme Court judges on Friday, she reportedly wrote that the day after the event at his residence, he said that "he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor and that he is desperate to see the same,” and added that he began targeting her work when she turned down his “various advances and malicious aspirations.”
“The complaint is not before me. I have not yet received the complaint from the woman judge. Once a formal complaint is received I will call for a report from the Madhya Pradesh HC Chief Justice. This is the first thing we do normally. I will initiate action against the judge concerned based on the report,” Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India Rajendra Mal Lodha told NDTV, a local news outlet, on Monday morning.
“First, there must be a prima facie case against the High Court judge. This could be verified only by the High Court Chief Justice. As and when we get a report from the Chief Justice after initial probe, constitution of the three-member committee can be considered,” Lodha reportedly said, when asked if a three-judge committee would be formed to investigate the allegations as observed in the Restatement of Values, which deals with the code of conduct for the country's judges.