Another judge has been accused of sexual harassment? What should be done?


The incident of Justice A K Ganguly is still afresh in the minds of the people, yet another similar kind of case has been surfaced. Another former Judge of the Supreme Court faces allegations of unwelcome sexual behavior by a law intern.

The citizens of the country have due respect to the two accused former judges of the Supreme Court for the performance of their duties during their term of office. But, we also have more respect and regard for the women and a duty to protect their integrity and express solidarity especially when it is endangered.

Form of Oath by the judges of the Supreme Court: (As mentioned in the 3rd Schedule of the Indian Constitution)

“I, ……. having been appointed Chief Justice (or a Judge) of the Supreme Court of India do
swear in the name of God that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and
the laws.”

Note: Read again at the end of the paragraph in the oath. (Green)

Difference between these two cases: According to the allegation made against the Justice AK Ganguly he sexually harassed a law intern after he demitted the office in the year 2012. In the latest allegation against another former Judge he sexually assaulted the law intern while he was a sitting Judge in the Supreme Court in the year 2012.

Why these cases are coming to the light after a long period? Generally when the allegations related to the high profile people and made by the interns or subordinates there is a tendency of fear. This is because of the position of the accused and they may spoil the whole career of the sub ordinates.

The first law intern accumulated courage and expressed in a blog about the alleged sexual harassment by the former judge. (Just Think… Is it not an act of courage by the intern?) The CJI immediately constituted a 3 member committee and the committee indicted Justice A K Ganguly.  May be this acted as a factor of motivation on the other woman and she also came out with a complaint. Since education and awareness levels are increasing there is no point in tolerating such type of activities and the women cannot be taken anymore as the weaker section of the society.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE? The fundamental principle under the Constitution is the Rule of Law. There are no separate laws for the people with high profiles. Hence the immediate requirement is to conduct an inquiry like in any other case. And since the former judges took oath ‘to uphold the Constitution and the laws’ they know better than anyone else that they must surrender for the investigation and cooperate with the respective agencies. Otherwise the meaning of upholding the law is diminished by the same persons who protected and defended the values of the Constitution for many years.

Whenever there is an allegation the onus of proving innocence lies with the accused. The only way is to surrender before the law and follow the procedures. Otherwise entire system will be criticized for bias towards the people with high profiles.

Why there is a demand for the resignation? It is a must because they should be available to the investigating agency whenever they are asked to do so. It is also their moral responsibility on their part not to sit in the statutory positions after being accused. (Morality is not mentioned in the Constitution and that is completely personal…..but a person holding higher ranks is expected to respect the concept of morality). There may be a possibility of misusing their office for protecting themselves. If they do not resign then the investigating agency would be asked to come for the investigation only when the former judges are free and available for investigation.

Note: Justice A K Ganguly when he was a sitting Supreme Court Judge criticized the late Vilas Rao Deshmukh for not resigning from the office as a Minister after serious accusations. (Is this not applicable to him?) He resigned only after the Cabinet sent a recommendation to the President to request for the inquiry by the Supreme Court.

Another point of argument is that why did he resign after a prolonged time? Why did he not face the procedures if he thinks that it is a conspiracy? It can be understood that he was under pressure. But for his experience he could have acted in a better manner.

The other accused judge must also face the law and people of the country have every right to know the truth.

Are the judges’ victims of any conspiracy? This will also be clear only after the inquiry. The truth must come out. As the former judges are saying that there is a conspiracy against them. They should extend the complete cooperation to see that the truth should surface. If they are found guilty then they must be punished as per the law. This is an opportunity for the nation to prove that nobody is above the law.  If it is found to be a conspiracy then the interns must be punished stringently for spoiling the image of the former judges. This acts like a deterrent for those who want to come out with such wrong accusations. 

India has the courage to demand for justice. The former judges must establish a precedent by bowing down before the law. In any case the Rule of law must prevail and the guilty should be punished. Then only the essence of ‘Rule of Law’ flies high in the largest Democracy of the World.

NOTE: On January 15, 2014 the Supreme Court is going to hear petition of the law intern.