The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh High Court and state government on the petition of a former additional district and sessions judge’s request to be reinstated, LiveLaw reported. The woman judge had resigned citing alleged sexual harassment by Madhya Pradesh High Court judge Justice SK Gangele in Gwalior in August 2014.
A bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued a notice to the High Court registrar general and sought a response within six weeks.
After alleging sexual harassment, the additional district and sessions judge had quit and filed a complaint with then Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and senior judges of the Supreme Court. She had accused Gangele of sending a message through the district court registrar, asking her to dance at an event at his house. When she did not go, Gangele told her that “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor”, she alleged.
In her petition, the additional district and sessions judge said her resignation was equivalent to an act of “constructive termination”. Since she had refused to bow down to the “immoral demands put forth by her superior”, she was effectively forced to resign after being unlawfully transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi district, said the woman judge.
In April 2015, a three-member panel set up by the Rajya Sabha to look into the allegations of sexual harassment had cleared Gangele. The judge had denied all allegations and had reportedly said he was willing to face any investigation and “any penalty, even the death penalty”.
Hamid Ansari, who was then the vice president, in March 2016 set up another panel to investigate the accusations after 58 members of the Rajya Sabha sought Gangele’s impeachment.
Senior lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing on behalf of the woman judge, said that her counsel was seeking relief for the restoration of her post with due seniority.
The Supreme Court will next hear the matter after six weeks.