A grievance of sexual harassment in opposition to the sitting Chief Justice of India became sent (together with an affidavit and different supporting proof) to the opposite sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India soliciting for the constitution of an inquiry committee of senior retired judges to research and adjudicate those extreme allegations.
The legal institutional response to this kind of grievance as mandated under the “In-House Procedure” relevant to Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, in conjunction with the Sexual Harassment of Women on the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) Act, (“POSH Act”) examine with the Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations, 2013, is for the detailed inquiry committee to take focus of the complaint, constitute an inquiry committee and supply observe to the respondent as to the initiation of such lawsuits.
Today, in an unparalleled flow past the scope of any regarded method or precept of law – whether beneath the “in residence manner” or inside the POSH Act or the Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations – a note changed into issued on the Supreme Court website that a ‘unique bench’ turned into being constituted to preserve courtroom at 10:30 am at the citing by using the solicitor preferred, at the same time as the court has been on vacation due to the fact Wednesday and is scheduled to reopen simplest on Monday.
The notice for the hearing
The bench comprised 3 judges of the Supreme Court which includes the respondent himself:
1. Why turned into the respondent himself sitting in judgment over his very own case?
That no man shall be a judge in his own reason is one of the most sacrosanct ideas of natural justice that the court docket mechanically preaches and enforces within the loads of cases it adjudicates each day. The Chief Justice as master of the roster has the only authority to constitute the Bench. Did he not think it suits to exclude himself from its composition.
2. Why have been no ladies justices in this Special Bench?
Justice Indu Malhotra is the chairperson of the Internal Complaints Committee of the Supreme Court and turned into no longer protected in this special bench. None of the alternative girl’s justices of the Supreme Court had been included both. Given that the POSH Act is crystal clear that the committee inquiring into sexual harassment should be headed via a lady and need to contain a majority of ladies, why turned into this precept no longer observed when constituting a unique bench to reply to the criticism?
3. What changed into the motive of this hearing?
If the special bench turned into now not assembling to deal with the grievance (and consequently now not following the “In House Procedure”/POSH Act/ Sexual Harassment Regulations) then what became the reason of convening a unique bench of the court docket? Given that the inquiry is supposed to take vicinity in the back of closed doorways even as following a prescribed method, may want to those allegations ever be adjudicated in open court docket?
4. Can this matter be taken up on the judicial aspect?
There is a special “in-residence manner” governing inquiry into allegations towards sitting Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. While the said in-residence method does not envisage a mechanism to be followed within the occasion a grievance is acquired against the Chief Justice of India themselves, it’s far pertinent to focus on the system laid out otherwise. Upon receiving a criticism towards a decision of the Supreme Court, the CJI shall observe it first, and if it is of an extreme nature related to misconduct or impropriety, they shall ask for a reaction from the worried choose. Upon receiving his reaction, if the CJI is of the opinion that the problem desires a deeper probe, he could constitute a committee which includes three judges of the Supreme Court, which shall then behavior an inquiry into the stated Complaint. As such, because the “in house manner” prescribes no mechanism for complaints in opposition to the CJI, it’s far clear that a person aggrieved by the acts of the CJI, as well as the inquiry with a view to complying with, will be guided by means of the process as laid down for other judges inside the “in residence technique”, which mandates the constitution of a committee. The Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations, 2013 also has a particular process to be observed inside the event of a complaint and do no longer envisage any open court hearing at the judicial aspect as a technique for responding to criticism.
At this hearing, as mentioned on Twitter by using criminal information websites, the respondent claimed that the complaint is a part of a plot to attack the independence of the judiciary. The complainant was said to have criminal antecedents and the allegations had been stated to be now not worthy of any response. Several extreme questions stand up:
1. Why was the respondent, while he becomes sitting in his reliable capacity as the Chief Justice of India as a presiding officer of a special bench responding to private allegations against him?
2. Why did the respondent make non-public statements about his bank stability and recognition throughout a court docket listening to, in which he was talking because of the Chief Justice of India (and no longer a press convention, wherein he ought to have spoken in his non-public ability)? Furthermore, what was the relevance of these statements, apart from prejudicing the case of the complainant through attractive to beside the point facts to create sympathy?
3. What honest system lets in the case of the complainant to be prejudiced even before the begin of an inquiry by way of allowing the respondent himself, in his respectable potential and from his role of strength, to declare mala fides in opposition to the grievance to the public at huge?