The plea seeking re institution of the position of an Additional District Judge in Madhya Pradesh was been heard by the Supreme Court of India on last Tuesday. Under not so normal circumstances, this respective ADJ had to resign from her post soon after posing sexual harassment allegations against the Madhya Pradesh High Court Judge, Justice S.K. Gangele.
The bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A Bobde, inquired the lawyer i.e. the Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, who has been taking up the hearings from the ADJ’s side, whether the aggrieved would like to welcome the reinstatement, if given, at any other state. To this Indira Jaising stated that she would likely to accept the proposal for any State in the northern part of India. Ms. Indira also added that former ADJ’s capabilities and her dedication towards her work has been appreciated many a times. She was also appointed as the chairperson of the district Vishakha Committee. Not only this but also according to an Annual Confidential Report (ACR) from the year 2011 till 2013, described her conduct as “excellent and outstanding”. Ms. Jaising also made the bench aware of the fact that in 2014, as the sexual harassment complaint has been raised, the former ADJ had got transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi. However she was unable to take up the transfer due her daughter’s board examinations and therefore was left with no other option but to resign. Before resigning she also approached the authorities to get an extension for up to eight months in Gwalior but got rejected.
Later in 2015, a three judge committee constituted by Rajya Sabha held the transfer unlawful. The members of the committee comprised of the Supreme Court Judge, Justice R. Bhanumati, former CJ of Bombay High Court, Justice Manjula Chellur and Senior Advocate K.K. Venugopal. The report issued by the above mentioned committee was in the favor of the aggrieved stating “total lack of human face” because of the transfer given to her.
Ms. Indira, in one of her arguments, informed the Court that the former ADJ was already willing to swear off the remunerations of the past some years, but wished to retain her seniority. She added that it’s the person’s own will to pursue the profession of a judge and “just get on with her life”.
To this Justice Bobde agreed and said “I must compliment you and your attitude. It is the right attitude to have in such situations. Why get into all this?” He further demanded a “Peaceful Conclusion” as according to him the High Court of Madhya Pradesh has already hot a new Chief Justice presently therefore he asked the High Court’s council to consider the plea for reinstatement and indicated that the same could be done without seeking any monetary benefits.
In January, 2019 the High Court of Madhya Pradesh informed the Supreme Court that it was somehow not possible to reinstate the ADJ.
The next hearing is scheduled to be taken on 16th March, 2020.