Gang rape protests: Asking for Justice?Gang rape protests: Asking for Justice?

A law graduate who recently blogged about how a retired Supreme Court judge sexually assaulted her while she was his intern, says that the problem is real and not uncommon amongst the judiciary and senior bar but that she sees few if any ways of tackling it.

Stella James, who graduated from NUJS Kolkata this year and now works at the NGO Natural Justice, Lawyers for Communities and the Environment, wrote about an alleged incident of physical, sexual assault by an unnamed, retired Supreme Court judge in late 2012.

In a post that was published on the blog of the NUJS Journal of Indian Law and Society on 6 November, she wrote about trying to come to terms with her experience of 24 December 2012, Christmas Eve, ironically against the backdrop of the then-ongoing Delhi gang rape protests:

“In Delhi at that time, interning during the winter vacations of my final year in University, I dodged police barricades and fatigue to go to the assistance of a highly reputed, recently retired Supreme Court judge whom I was working under during my penultimate semester. For my supposed diligence, I was rewarded with sexual assault (not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating) from a man old enough to be my grandfather. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that long after I’d left the room, the memory remained, in fact, still remains, with me.”

“Frankly I was really shocked,” James tells Legally India in an interview today. “There’s this thing: a person who is a Supreme Court judge - you don’t expect a Supreme Court judge to harass somebody.”

However, she says that her experience was neither uncommon, nor merely restricted to the judiciary: “I’ve heard of three other cases [of sexual harassment] by the same judge and I know of at least four other girls who’ve faced harassment from other judges - not perhaps as [bad as mine]: most of them were in the chambers of the judge and other people around, so it never gets too bad.

“A girl I know faced continuous sexual harassment throughout and sexual advances, and actually faced troubles through her work because of it.” And she says she’s heard of Supreme Court senior counsel who have made passes at or have continuously harassed interns for longer periods.

And though it is barely, if at all, known outside legal circles, it is a bit of an open secret or a “big joke” within the profession, particularly among clerks and women working in the Supreme Court, according to James.

“People in the Supreme Court kind of know,” she says. “I did my internship through the college [recruitment process].” After beginning to share her experience with others in college, however, James found that others had also faced similar problems with the same judge.

James’ reasons for not going public with the name of the judge or not lodging a formal complaint are complex, both morally and practically. On the one hand, she wrote in the blog post:

“I bore, and still bear, no real ill-will towards the man, and had no desire to put his life’s work and reputation in question. On the other hand, I felt I had a responsibility to ensure that other young girls were not put in a similar situation. But I have been unable to find a solution that allows that. Despite the heated public debates, despite a vast army of feminist vigilantes, despite new criminal laws and sexual harassment laws, I have not found closure. The lack of such an alternative led to my facing a crippling sense of intellectual and moral helplessness.”

“I’d worked for him for six months and he treated me really well for six months and has been really kind to me,” James explains. “It was rather strange to me but I haven’t really forgiven him for it… [But] I don’t know if I want to let myself - my impression of him as a person - be entirely dictated by that act… My leeway to him isn’t because he’s had a shining career and all that - part of it is that – [but] I’m not really sure I want to ruin somebody’s entire life because of that.”

“Once it gets out in the open that he’s harassed other girls,” James says, “people will only look at him in that light.”

However, James admits that one other strong reason, which was not really touched upon in her blog post, was concern about whether legal action would even have any effect. James had managed to reach two of the other young women who were harassed by the same judge but neither were willing to come forward in public, mostly out of fear. “They don’t really want to jeopordise their careers,” James relates. “He’s a Supreme Court judge. If it’s going to be his word against our word, he’s got more credibility, so to speak, of his words.”

And she adds that if she by herself had wanted to take legal action, it would probably not have been possible. “There were no other witnesses, it was just me. It was a hotel room, [people] saw me walking in voluntarily, saw me walking out very calmly. I didn’t even walk out [with] fear. At that moment I felt I needed to walk out very calmly. I never mentioned anything the same day to anybody.”

Apart from the evidentiary difficulty in proving the crime, the more serious problem for lawyers is perhaps inherent in the profession itself. James said she had never heard of any official harassment complaints within the legal profession or against any judges. And while Legally India understands that sexual harassment complaints are at times made in law firms, most are handled very delicately and quietly, with the firm encouraging informal resolution.

In courts, it is even worse, speculates James, in that there is usually no one you can realistically complain to, unlike in a company or college structure where harassed by a boss or lecturer, for example, and where she would have taken formal action in a similar incident. “Of course you can file a criminal complaint [against a judge or lawyer] but that’s a whole different level.” And it is also likely to impact your career.

“I know a friend of mine who was sexually harassed at the Karnataka high court,” says James. That friend “wasn’t keeping it a secret” and telling lawyer friends about why she left the job with that senior, and for two months afterwards she wasn’t able to find a job at the same court, being asked about the incident in interviews after it dripped through the court’s grapevine (she eventually found a job after deciding to evade the issue at interviews).

The mindset in such cases often is, “she created trouble for him, she’ll create trouble for us”, speculates James.

She says she was also skeptical about the Supreme Court’s recently started sexual harassment cell and guidelines improving matters considerably. “It is often one person’s word against another person’s word, and a lot of people tend not to take the word” of a young lawyer against a senior advocate who’s made his reputation for 10 to 15 years. “There is a balance of power thing going on here.”

The only thing that James has been able to do, other than write the blog, is discuss the incident with members of her alma mater, possibly de-listing the judge from the recruitment process so that others are not exposed to similar experiences.

While James does feel that colleges have a responsibility to protect their students, she acknowledges that it could be difficult. The judge in question has been closely associated with her former college for a while by giving lectures and regularly taking on research assistants, so whether faculty can take unequivocal action is not certain.

Nevertheless, James says that potentially recruitment committees of colleges could make a difference. “I think at least – there should be some way, if not publicly then at least privately, kids who go intern with a judge should know that this has happened before.”

James says that she was able to come forward, albeit without disclosing names, because of her choice to work with an NGO with a possible view to entering academia at some point in her career.

“I was a little afraid,” she admits. “The other friends I’ve spoken about, they are in positions where these judges play an important role [at the Supreme Court or teaching in a college and they] are afraid of jeopardising their careers. I don’t have such concerns here at Natural Justice - I have a team that’s incredibly supportive, and three colleagues were first to read the blog post [before publication].

“For me, the great thing is that I’m in an organisation where I know that if I come out in public about it, we are 25 people, and I’m pretty sure I’ll have the entire team behind me.”

That lawyers elsewhere are unlikely or unable to protect their own from sexual harassment, is a problem the profession will have to deal with sooner rather than later.

Update 12 November: The Chief Justice of India has decided to institute a three-member judicial committee to probe the allegation.

Photo by Soumyaroop Chatterjee

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Like +17 Object -6 Lawyer 11 Nov 13, 14:29  interesting  controversial
This news article is shocking, to say the least. While I somewhat agree with the point relating to difficulty in proving the commission of crime, that should not be the reason for not bringing it to the notice of the police - not even the fact that the 'accused' is a recently retired judge of the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

I am sure the same Supreme Court judge would have sometime ruled that no one is above the law. However, we all know that the trust is far from what has been rules time and again. But should that be the reason for not complaining about it at all? Should the stature of the person be the reason for a prolonged agony to the victim?

With all due respect to Hon'ble Mr Justice XYZ (Retd.)'s life long work of imparting justice (Satire intended), he should face the music of his wrong doings especially when he has committed similar crimes in the past as well!!
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Like +20 Object -9 sicklyrhetoric 11 Nov 13, 14:46  interesting  controversial
You are a very brave girl Stella . But this 'judge' needs to be characterized as a harasser and a molester. I wish you'd done that, I understand your consicence's decision not to, but I wish you had. Its because some people who are too good, that these monsters get away, sometimes.

I will hope for peace for you.
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Like +13 Object -3 Again 11 Nov 13, 15:17  interesting
Dog eat dog world.

There are two types of law professionals, broadly:

One who are sure that they are in such prominent positions in society that they must act responsibly and become true role-models - because of the power and authority that this profession grants them.

And the other who are sure that they can abuse every person and institution with scant regard for the law - Exactly for the same reason!

And for this second group, "boundaries" do not exist, only desires and satisfaction of the same, do. They know that people in places of authority have not acted in a way that may demonstrate that they think much of sexual exploitation (esp of the ones who are seen, for whatever reason, to be "weak") at all - in fact, it appears to be their belief that "it" is just another medium of exchange - currency. Give and take type. Honorable AMS' matter being the starkest case in point - for God's sake he is back on TV (every day!) taking some high ground or the other..

I'm glad you think that the rest of your present colleagues are "with you" on this. So long as that comforts you, good.

I hope you take a call that meets with your deepest convictions.

And I hope that others do too.

After 20 years in the profession, I do not have much hope that anything will change drastically - whether in the profession, or with people who make it so. And unless I make a massive fortune, I really don't think I can be sure that my own children will not suffer the same or similar fate here in India. Or elsewhere. And I hang my head in shame over that.

If anyone offers you more than their verbal sympathies here - Beware. God Bless.
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Like +6 Object -1 Insaan 12 Nov 13, 06:48  interesting
I truly appreciate your views on the issue. However, your characterization of two types of law professionals leaves out a third and most imporant type of law professionals, the ones that are motivated by the pride they find in the delivery of justice. The two types of run of the mill professionals you mentioned do not necessarily have the pride that you, after 20 years in the profession, see lacking all around. We do not have the third type. It is after all dog eat dog India!
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Like +3 Object -1 victim lawyer 12 Feb 14, 22:50
I appreciate your views referred in second group, but I do not agree with your comment that there is no hope for any change. All of us need to wake up and point out or raise our voice against the smallest illegal or unethical stands taken by judges of various courts in India. India has empowered court judges as supreme, who are not accountable. They have been empowered for trust and faith to protect all Indians from wrong doings in the society.
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Like +49 Object -30 lawyer 11 Nov 13, 17:16  interesting  top rated  controversial
Either she should come up and file a proper complaint or just keep shut. 'Cause this approach is not helpful and only promotes gossip which is not healthy for the Institute. If the SC judge has behaved in an inappropriate manner, a proper inquiry should be conducted and if found guilty, he should be punished. Apparently according to Stella there are more victims and there may have been many more. I cant say that she owes it to them or other victims... but unless someone comes out in open... people in powerful positions will continue to abuse and take advantage of situations. Though one can understand and appreciate her pain, her blog reads more like a attempt at catharsis than an attempt to punish the guilty...
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Like +9 Object -6 Guest 12 Nov 13, 14:01  controversial
Quoting lawyer:
Either she should come up and file a proper complaint or just keep shut.

Why should she? At least she is seen here with a name that can allow people to do a little research and identify the judge in question.
There are ways of helping people. Stella has done a fine job in exposing the possibility of sexual harassment at the level of the judges of the Supreme Court of India. It is for her to decide whether to go further than this or not. It is upto us to decide whether we are going to stand up and call for accountability from this deeply shrouded institution or not.
Lawyers are trained to think in terms of law and often miss out other issues. There are things beyond the black and white of guilt and punishment involved here. Prosecuting and punishing this one judge may not prevent others from repeating the same acts later. Nor does this moral rot in the judiciary end with the judiciary. It is a reflection of the lack of accountability built into systems everywhere which can be used by people in power.
The larger question needs to be whether we as a nation/people are strong enough to call for and seek accountability from all including our own selves.
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Like +3 Object -3 victim lawyer 12 Feb 14, 01:18
Quoting Insaan:
I truly appreciate your views on the issue. However, your characterization of two types of law professionals leaves out a third and most imporant type of law professionals, the ones that are motivated by the pride they find in the delivery of justice. The two types of run of the mill professionals you mentioned do not necessarily have the pride that you, after 20 years in the profession, see lacking all around. We do not have the third type. It is after all dog eat dog India!

Quoting lawyer:
Either she should come up and file a proper complaint or just keep shut. 'Cause this approach is not helpful and only promotes gossip which is not healthy for the Institute. If the SC judge has behaved in an inappropriate manner, a proper inquiry should be conducted and if found guilty, he should be punished. Apparently according to Stella there are more victims and there may have been many more. I cant say that she owes it to them or other victims... but unless someone comes out in open... people in powerful positions will continue to abuse and take advantage of situations. Though one can understand and appreciate her pain, her blog reads more like a attempt at catharsis than an attempt to punish the guilty...


It is easy to say but difficult to come in the open, even after 65 years of India's Independence we do not have laws to protect the whistle Blowers in India. There is match fixing in between Ministers/Judges/the lawyers from both sides/the local police along with the culprit/culprits vs innocent victims in most of the cases. For example, pick up all pending cases in the supreme court, the influential or rich culprits are controlling the cases getting them shelved for unlimited period through the nexus of judges/lawyers from both sides and let the victim suffer for life. The law abiding poor victims are threatened with clause of " Contempt of Court " where as in actual, the persons employed by the judiciary system should be punished by the law of THE CONTEMPT OF COURT for not performing their duties truthfully. It is only in India, that some individuals are so much powerful as compared to the other individuals so that the few power full ones start abusing the system openly having no fear of accountability. Indian public has been tolerating this for long 65 years. It is high time that we all start demanding time bound justice delivery system and all the justice delivery system should be put on public domain for their active participation.
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Like +11 Object -3 ... 11 Nov 13, 17:25  interesting
Not very difficult to tell who the judge is. All her classmates know where she was interning that winter. Name and Shame.
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Like +5 Object -1 anony 11 Nov 13, 19:07
after graduation I started working in trial courts at Delhi. I made friends with a lady lawyer (am a guy), similar backgrounds, age etc. She was dead serious about litigation, I suppose.

Once I asked her, if she has faced harassment of any kind. Judges, lawyers, clients, accused, clerks, court staff, anybody, she says, hit upon her.

The point was, while not every guy is like that, there were those who would actually cross their limits. (no physical contacts, but not having a single conversation without sexual innuendos was rare)

Her defense: basically to ignore. fighting it day in and day out was too draining.

I am grateful to girls to come out with their stories like this. Unfortunately, the way society works, it is girls who would have to stand up and be counted.

While there are differences even in western societies, the way the girls are treated in our society is plain disgusting.

She is now married and settled abroad.
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Like +14 Object -2 LEGALVOICE 11 Nov 13, 19:07  interesting  top rated
INDEED BOLD STEP, BY WRITING AND PUBLICIZING THIS ARTICLE, Otherwise Voices goes unheard, unreported and unrecognized. and we can guess who was that or many other ppl can decipher it. But atleast her confession /blog gives credence to the many gossips we hear in the corridors of the supreme court . Many more skeleton is hidden, unknown from public. Present system of appointment must be changed and greater accountability and grievance redressal mechanism against judges requires to be in place , as in normal legal system, no relief can be expected against grievances against supreme court judges.
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Like +6 Object -1 Gumnam 11 Nov 13, 20:48  interesting
Shocked and scared, can any body else in law eternity or IT person direct this blog to supreme court
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Like +18 Object -2 Observer 11 Nov 13, 21:20  interesting  top rated
Why hasn't the National Commission for Women taken suo motu action on this blog or now that this has been reported in Legally India? Brave decision, Stella and I highly appreciate and respect your action!
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Like +18 Object -31 BS 11 Nov 13, 22:46  controversial
such a load of BS.. either name and shame with specifics, else keep shut.. and plz dont encourage gossip LI.. erodes the institution
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Like +18 Object -11 DG 12 Nov 13, 00:40  interesting  controversial
If you're a lawyer then your very existence erodes the institution.

While you chastise LI, the true gossip monger is you. If you want him named it's barely because people like you want justice for Stella but because people like you wish to hear scurrilous details. I say this because there are tons of other avenues you could have recommended for her but you choose the one that benefits your gossiping needs the most.

Why should Stella name her harasser? She's an autonomous person who has the right to proceed against him if she wishes but has chosen not to for her own reasons. Let's see you walk a mile in her shoes - and even then if you still disagree, I'd tell you to respect her decision. Truth of the matter is that she has justifiable reasons for not naming her attacker and if we wish to help at all, it's by ensuring that these reasons cease to exist.

Power to you Stella.
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Like +1 Object -2 Avinash Lewis 12 Nov 13, 02:04
Such are Rotten Vultures in Legal community that they should be brought to book.. Being a Supreme count lawyer does not give him right to Violate any one.. Good that you spoke.. let him get busted and we do not want such Animals fooling round... other innocents

Avinash Lewis,
United Nations, IAEA, Vienna
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Like +5 Object -32 Guest 12 Nov 13, 02:28  troll?  controversial
only male intern should be allowed for male judges
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Like +2 Object -0 Babubhai Vaghela 12 Nov 13, 05:59
Exception apart, the worst scared of the Judges in India are the Advocates - not necessarily women advocates. ATBabubhaiVaghela on Twitter
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Like +5 Object -28 Manoj sharma 12 Nov 13, 07:57  troll?  controversial
Sorry to say and it concerns to society.Why the student disclosed this facts after so long period.Why she did not come forward immediately,creats a doubt at her version.
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Like +10 Object -1 PS! 12 Nov 13, 10:27  interesting
It takes time to decide upon such an action. Frankly, most children and decent people are just unprepared to react to such a case.
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Like +0 Object -0 victim lawyer 12 Feb 14, 01:38
Quoting PS!:
It takes time to decide upon such an action. Frankly, most children and decent people are just unprepared to react to such a case.

My case is also like your's Mr Vaghela, in Supreme Court of India and it is presumed that the victims can not appeal against any orders of Supreme Court of India (whether right or wrong orders)and all this has been through a nexus system. We have tried two lawyers of Supreme Court, both of them appeared to have joined the nexus. one lawyer, left the court without saying any word and the other lawyer had no show on the date of the case. Both of them charged fees in advance. Any remedial suggestions. Thanx.
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Like +4 Object -0 Babubhai Vaghela 12 Nov 13, 07:59
I am not a woman. I am not a victim of sexual harassment. I a senior citizen aged 65 am the victim of judicial corruption by the present CJI and his two immediate predecessors who shamelessly keep pending the Civil Transfer Petition in Advocates Examination AIBE filed by the Bar Council of India against me Babubhai Vaghela in my Gujarat High Court admitted PIL in June 2010. I have no resources to engage a Lawyer. I am looking for Pro Bono Advocate who can mention the AIBE matter to CJI Bench.
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Like +3 Object -1 Gumnam 12 Nov 13, 09:50
Ms James did the wise thing. Her career will be finished if she complains. A Judge can make your life hell. For example look at this whistleblower principal (not female) who worked for a Judge's school, arrested for IT Act 66 defamation after complaining and resigning from the school and joining a competitor school

http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/one-more-case-of-misuse-of-section-66-a-of-it-act/

(Accused of trumped up charges under IT Act Section 66 defamation)
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Like +3 Object -0 abc 12 Nov 13, 11:45
This is on front page of TOI and CNN IBN which is good, but CNN IBN is showing LI when it was actually Lawctopus which broke the story. Bar & Bench is also quoting LI. This is most unfortunate because the credit should be given to social-media driven websites like Lawctopus rather than to commercial websites like LI.
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Like +5 Object -0 JILS 12 Nov 13, 12:12  interesting
That blog was first published on the blog of the Journal of Indian Law and Society, not Lawctopus!!
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Like +1 Object -0 Our Fate !!! 12 Nov 13, 12:10
Indeed James did a wise thing. We know many cases where partners/ Sr. Counsels have exploited their associates or interns, and for those poor souls who had the B**** to raise their voice against them, have never (ever) found jobs with other law firms / Counsels.

Although James did a good thing (though without an option) to keep silent and let things go, if in the shoes of a legal professional, if one is unable to do anything about it, imagine those helpless souls seeking protection. I myself pity our position, doing nothing but mere responding to such things on blogs.
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Like +0 Object -0 Pravat Singh 12 Nov 13, 12:11
People will loose faith on Supreme Court if The Court does not investigate this matter promptly.There should be a some organisation which will be above the Supreme Court who can pass orders if Judges are indulged in such type of activities, nepotism or corruption. This should be discussed in Parliament.
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Like +1 Object -1 Guest 12 Nov 13, 12:14
As an attorney representing victims of sexual harassment and abuse, including self defense murder cases(applying Battered Woman Syndrome defense)in USA, thought I had seen enough in 19 years. I have to admit, this tops it all.
Indian Supreme Court has done a lot for rape victims, through it's recent rulings and deserves great credit. Likes of Asaram were getting away, everyday, but for SC's intervention. Ms. James deserves applause, support for coming out. She appears very credible and wise. High time for Indian men to reflect and learn. This errant justice should show his regret by supporting the cause and apologize to Ms. James, his own family and India.
Harish Bharti, Attorney At Law, USA, www.hbharti.com
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Like +11 Object -0 oxblood 12 Nov 13, 12:24  interesting
This is indeed a brave move, you are setting a fantastic example by talking so openly about your experience.

A couple of months ago i had to deal with something similar. My ex boss was a sleazebag who would constantly but subtly make passes at me, without being too overt. My response would be to cold shoulder him and quickly change the subject to something work related. One fine day though he propositioned me and said something that was utterly unpardonable.I immediately made A LOT of noise about it.

I had become alert and weary of him long before and had documented considerable evidence of his prejudices against me.

I took my case to the highest authorities in the organisation. I got a transfer and my boss got a dressing down for his bad behavior leaving him red faced and his future prospects considerably damaged.

Courts, law firms, corporates you will find bad apples everywhere. Timely tactful action is the way to do it.

Good luck
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Like +4 Object -0 Fellow Female 12 Nov 13, 20:48
Hi oxblood!Great going! I wanted to know how do we document prejudices? I would really appreciate the help. Thanks.
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Like +2 Object -0 Ved Prakash 12 Nov 13, 13:03
Can this happen in the highest Judiciary. I am not sure but this comment cannot be taken lightly. The credibility of SC judges are at stake. More even in the same blog we find instances of reference about other Judges. SC should take suo motto cognizance of this and teach a lesson to the former judge if Guilty. I found the email of the SC of India and also wrote to them to take COGNIzance of this. You can also write a mail at: Lets get the right of this girl re instated:
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Like +3 Object -0 Rahul 12 Nov 13, 13:26
Well done! one only hope enough muck is created but knowing India there will be few TV shoot comments and remarks , good youth is saying we will not take anything lying. India needs to walk miles to be termed as a nation fair to Ladies.
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Like +2 Object -0 meenasingh 12 Nov 13, 15:02
Lady has rightly made aallegation public and sc has rightly constituted a commitee of three judges to enguire in to matter.Let us hope something good for the future will emerge out of it.
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Like +2 Object -0 kianganz 12 Nov 13, 15:04
FYI, more details:
http://www.legallyindia.com/201311124109/Bar-Bench-Litigation/cji-probe-into-3-judges
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Like +4 Object -0 anonmumbai 12 Nov 13, 17:11
Kian kudos to your team too for publishing such an article!!! If not for you this would never come into limelight!!!
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Like +0 Object -2 nepal 12 Nov 13, 23:16
Quoting anonmumbai:
Kian kudos to your team too for publishing such an article!!! If not for you this would never come into limelight!!!



Kian did nothing. It was Lawctopus that broke the story first. It's just that LI is more well known than Lawctopus so that's why CNN IBN and TOI picked it up from LI. This also tells us that if LI takes up issues concerning misgovernance in law schools, it may be picked up by MSM.
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Like +2 Object -0 Muffin fan 13 Nov 13, 01:06
Until LI did the first interview with the intern, this was just a blog post that was on the NUJS blog and reposted on Lawoctopus. I think kudos due to both Lawoctopus and LI team for their courage in bringing this to wider attention. :)
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Like +1 Object -0 Avinash Lewis 17 Nov 13, 03:19
@Meenasingh,

Constituting commitee of three does not solve the issue, Which may well take it undercarpet, Its Unfair to ask a fellow judges to be a moderator, there has to be a relook in how our Judicicary is held accountable to the Nation

This is just tip of iceberg, there are more serious issues in recent times which Warrant a rehaul of Judiciary

Avinash Lewis
UN, Vienna
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 12 Nov 13, 15:29
It is a known fact within the legal fraternity that lot of womanisarion is going on in many chambers of senior lawyers and in the judiciary.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 12 Nov 13, 15:41
i have also known to such facts about high court judges. this is regular phenomena. go in any high court and any lawyer will tell the so many stories as such
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Like +0 Object -0 Adv who knows the filth 12 Nov 13, 16:24
Can I give you a few more names of "reputed lawyers and judges" who are exploiting females in large number?
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Like +2 Object -0 anonmumbai 12 Nov 13, 17:09
Yoooo gal..we are there to support you!!!
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Like +3 Object -1 Humanrace 12 Nov 13, 17:57
Well, what is that bothering is that, a retired judge having earned up to the age of 65, now feel like kindling young girls the age of his own grand children, what a type of mind set these Lordships do have. These are the people who might have written judgments that have become Law and we have to follow.

Poor girl, who is aspiring to become a Lawyer, is facing immense pressure from such a trauma that too from a grandfather. May I ask his Lordship, will he be doing same kindling with his own daughter or grand daughter? If he cannot, then why resort to do such inhuman things to some one else's daughter? I caution the son/daughter-in-law of his Lordship be careful when his Lordship is around and especially, the womenfolk is left alone in the house while her husband has gone out for his earnings. God save her if the Lordship is left to engage in similar kindling with the woman in the house may she be his daughter-in-law, grand daughter or any other woman as the case may be.
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Like +3 Object -1 Anonymous 12 Nov 13, 18:07
From what Stella James has written, it appears that she is telling the truth. Now, it remains to be seen whether the Committee constituted by the CJI today finds out the facts and takes exemplary action. Barring this judge from having anything whatsoever to do with law, as practised in India, would be a good thing to start with. Also, why not debar him from getting pension / other benefits etc.?

Lastly, will the Supreme Court bring a case of contempt against this man for bringing such a venerable institution (one of the pillars of the govt.) into disrepute? It is quick to do this in case of ordinary citizens. At least, if it publishes the findings of it's committee, that will send the message to the whole world that we in India are really serious about sexual harassment - be it of women or men!

COME ON SUPREME COURT! SHOW THE WORLD YOU CARE! SHOW THE WORLD THAT YOUR POLICY REGARDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS "ZERO TOLERANCE FOR NONSENSE".
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Like +0 Object -0 Avinash Lewis 17 Nov 13, 03:42
Well said...

Thats the exact thing world is waiting to see.. Zero tolerance
CJI ordered a enqirey Committee which essentially means things go under carpet or Delaying Tactics in tech terms

Regards
Avinash Lewis
UN, Vienna Austria
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Like +1 Object -0 Dheeraj 12 Nov 13, 18:48
it is a matter of deep concern and outrage that a SC judge is being accused of sexually harassing a young woman lawyer...the problems faced by women at workplaces are mainly due to gender bias and sexual harassment...the government should devise such a mechanism so that people holding high positions are not able to abuse their position and are punished for their crime
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Like +4 Object -17 guest 12 Nov 13, 19:27
it did not happened in chamber or in the office but in a hotel room who forced her to go to meet the judge in a hotel room
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Like +9 Object -2 Fellow Female 12 Nov 13, 20:52  interesting
If she were a guy, would you have asked the same question?
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Like +4 Object -0 Guest 12 Nov 13, 19:37
why don't we name the judge here. Her internship is a matter of public record both at the Supreme Court and at NUJS.

why is no one naming the judge. He is an accused in a criminal offence - sexual assault.

Any person can be the complainant in a criminal offence, even if the victim chooses not to formally complain.
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Like +1 Object -0 DBS 13 Nov 13, 12:03
Quoting Guest:
why don't we name the judge here.

Isn't it obvious from this list !! -- http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/judges/list_retired_judges.htm
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Like +0 Object -0 kianganz 13 Nov 13, 12:06
It's not immediately obvious, no...

I would urge everyone from speculating on this until the committee has had a chance to convene and bring the facts out in an orderly manner, or until someone reveals the name on-the-record and the judge has had a chance to respond...
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Like +6 Object -1 Guest 12 Nov 13, 19:50  interesting
This is for comment 32 - so what explanation does the SC judge have for spending time alone in a hotel room with a female 40 years younger than him.

We should ask him this question.

The lady states she was sexually assaulted and I believe her.

But for commentator no. 32, even if a hypothetical lady had consented to have sex with the SC judge, how does this excuse the behavior of a 65 year old married SC judge with [...] children and his decision to have sex with a young lawyer around 24 years old who had interned with him while he was a sitting SC judge?
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Like +1 Object -0 Lawyer 13 Nov 13, 18:29
Yes, I agree, how can a Judge do that, that is not right for the Judge to do that. if the Judge was married, his wife can take him up for adultry and not serve him home cooked food for a week.
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 12 Nov 13, 20:18
The Law maker should not be a law breaker. They should keep the image of Indian Judiciary.
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Like +2 Object -1 Guest 12 Nov 13, 20:37
CJ Supreme Court must enquire himself the role of VC, Registrar etc employees of NUJS because in this case the internship of girl was decided by NUJS. There may be a long tail of this type of conspiracy going on in this institution for vested reasons. Last year a student, son of a judge, had committed suicide in campus here. The academic levels have gone down like anything here. Large number of good teachers have left the institution. Good number of students fail every year. SC will fail if remedial measures are not taken immediately. The overall downfall in NUJS is alarming. Recently an women employee had leveled charges of sexual harassment against an Asst Registrar here. CJ SC is the ex officio Chancellor of NUJS.
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Like +2 Object -0 Babubhai Vaghela 12 Nov 13, 20:52
Judges investigate Judges, Bureaucrats investigate Bureaucrats, Politicians investigate Politicians, Journos investigate Journos, Advocates investigate Advocates is ridiculous. Clash of interest. NCW is the Right Empowered Authority in this particular case. Today morning itself lodged complaint with Chairperson NCW to investigate and make Public the Report. Supreme Court should co-operated with NCW investigation.
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Like +13 Object -0 AudiAlteram 12 Nov 13, 21:43  interesting  top rated
I don't mean to troll and please take this in the right spirit of inquiry and skepticism that law school imbues in us all. I think the discourse that stella's piece has sparked off is necessary and kudos to stella for bringing serious issues of equality and respect for women to the fore. The structures that we are talking about are so intrinsically patriarchal and ossified that speaking out is a particularly brave move.

My point however is with respect to the popular reaction over an accusation. I cant help but think to myself that we re just so easily convinced that the judge is guilty without even knowing who he is or having heard him. A career and reputation spanning over 4 decades is very clearly at stake and everyone just can't wait to jump to the conclusion that he is guilty. Especially when the narrative that we've gotten from her is so light on hard facts and more focused on social analysis of the situation. I just think we should have a higher threshold for believing things and demand more evidence before jumping to conclusions about arguably India's greatest institution and the women/men that inhabit them.

All this notwithstanding I think genuine miscreants will be put on their toes by stella's efforts. If this is what indeed happened then I feel stella has dealt with this situation with aplomb. If it hasn't then well.... My opinion is reserved till the committee's report is out
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Like +9 Object -0 @AudiAlteram 12 Nov 13, 23:28  interesting
Quoting AudiAlteram:


My point however is with respect to the popular reaction over an accusation. I cant help but think to myself that we re just so easily convinced that the judge is guilty without even knowing who he is or having heard him. A career and reputation spanning over 4 decades is very clearly at stake and everyone just can't wait to jump to the conclusion that he is guilty. Especially when the narrative that we've gotten from her is so light on hard facts and more focused on social analysis of the situation. I just think we should have a higher threshold for believing things and demand more evidence before jumping to conclusions about arguably India's greatest institution and the women/men that inhabit them.

My opinion is reserved till the committee's report is out


Yes. I agree with @ AudiAlteram.

Without casting any insinuations against Ms. James, it is unfair for us to accuse any man, may he be a Judge or not, without knowing both sides of the story.

Working in a Mumbai law firm for around a decade, I have seen enough such false allegations of sexual harassment from opportunistic employees against males co-workers to know better. This is of course without any offense meant to Ms. James.
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Like +1 Object -0 Guest 15 Nov 13, 13:31
Quoting AudiAlteram:
[quote name="AudiAlteram"]
I cant help but think to myself that we re just so easily convinced that the judge is guilty without even knowing who he is or having heard him. .... I just think we should have a higher threshold for believing things and demand more evidence before jumping to conclusions about arguably India's greatest institution and the women/men that inhabit them.

Some may need a higher threshold of evidence when a sister cries out seeking for help; the public perception of and reaction to such a cry may be different. Of course, some don't take any risk wanting to be perfectly right in whatever they do. But often the fool who rushes in gets the job done. In a democracy, it is the fool who gets heard. It is the idealist who creates dictatorships for reaching that perfect world.
Why would any woman in India risk coming out in public about 'sexual harassment' given the fact that conviction in such cases is rare if ever it is there?
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Like +2 Object -11 SHAIK.AMEEN PEERAN 12 Nov 13, 22:07
I am an advocate every where it becomes problematic to see male & female working together is having more legal or illegal relationship,so that SC also declared even a male & female lives together without wedlock also treated as wife & husband & share the property & assets as per married couple.But here YOU together willingly having a relationship never effects any one but what is the matter un willing forcible sexual harassment is wrong & the point of trouble especially concern to a female.Any one can say that everything is going good,but indeed nothing goes as we like free o cost the exchange of any help becomes recipocal like barter system.If you are getting help You have to pay some price for it especially in case of females if they don't have anything or something to pay then the person who extended help to he seeks sexual favour willingly or unwillingly she has to obey other wise to face the consquences in life to avoid all such future troubles more from the females only in Indian society many never disclose such past matters to their blood relation or the others it dies in their hearts forever till the end of their lives.It is going on,generations passed decades & centuries no solution but we must find prevention to it with cool & peaceful mind not to hurt the hearts of innocent young girls of our Indians,who are our own daughters & mothers to all of us.we must respect & protect them for our ancient culture & society.
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Like +2 Object -0 Dr Surendra P Chaudhary 13 Nov 13, 09:17
Ms Stella Thomas has braught up the real effects of sexual harassment on the victim. She has very well demonstrated the feelings the victim goes through in regards to reporting or just quietly suffer in privacy. Ms Thomas has taken the question of sexual harraent beyond the legal and meeting the justice. She goes into the real life implications and real life consequences. It is just not the question of courage on the part of victim to get the guilty punished. It is what to do with the life in the biased society that we live in.
I take my hats off for ms Thomas and hope she moves on successfully in her career. She certainly has set an example. I will certainly be following up with what three SC judges do.
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Like +0 Object -0 Avinash Lewis 17 Nov 13, 03:23
@Dr Surendra Chaudhary

This case is followed Not just Indian Judiciary circles now

Regards
Avinash Lewis
UN, Vienna
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Like +4 Object -1 oxblood 13 Nov 13, 13:47
@ Fellow Female with reference to my ex boss

1. i would record his conversations on my phone.

2. he would have these outbursts when i would not respond well to his advances ..he would send me mails unnecessarily criticizing my work. i would get an opinion on the same legal issues from other seniors who would more often than not favor me. i would ask them to send me a mail reiterating the same. so that i have everything documented.

3. i would keep my colleagues updated, (the ones i trust) as soon as he said something that was unacceptable ... so that i have some back up evidence.

basically think like a lawyer and act like Sherlock Holmes
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Like +1 Object -0 Fellow Female 17 Nov 13, 01:23
Thanks!!Very Practical and helpful tips.
Best Wishes! :)
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 13 Nov 13, 14:45
Why no Judicial Accountability Act till date?
While lower judiciary is policed by the higher judiciary, who polices the higher judiciary?
Why enforceability of law depends on the position that a man exercised in the past?
Why do we have judiciary judging the act of judiciary? Isn’t it much like the atrocity committed by a police officer on a citizen is directed to be probed by a committee of police officers itself?
Have we forgotten that justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done?
If the victim’s version is to be believed, as it is the law in case of sexual assault, there are many more such incidents but remain silent. It seems their fundamental right to speech and expression was a mirage.
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Like +1 Object -2 Tch tch 13 Nov 13, 16:26
I agree with the view that the SC judge should be taken to task. And a stricter punishment as opposed to what have been doled out to an ordinary citizen must be awarded to him as he beholds a greater position in society - upholder of the law.

But (now now don't shout at me) a lot [...] are also given elevation for their 'charming' work ethics at corporate law firms.

At this point in time, none of them raise a hue and cry, I wonder why.
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Like +3 Object -6 Lawyer myself 13 Nov 13, 17:49
A good move by Stella to acheive atleast something out of the 'harrassment' that is safe future for other girls, now that her conscience has taken a call 1 year after the incident.
Perhaps,she did not achieve desired results out of her intership with the Hon'ble Judge.
By the way, Ms Stella it would be a great help to investigators and lawyers in common, if you can also disclose the motive of walking into Jugde's hotel room. Did he call you there to discuss your research results over a cup of coffee?
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Like +2 Object -0 Coward Myself 14 Nov 13, 09:47
Quoting Lawyer myself:
A good move by Stella to acheive atleast something out of the 'harrassment' that is safe future for other girls, now that her conscience has taken a call 1 year after the incident.
Perhaps,she did not achieve desired results out of her intership with the Hon'ble Judge.
By the way, Ms Stella it would be a great help to investigators and lawyers in common, if you can also disclose the motive of walking into Jugde's hotel room. Did he call you there to discuss your research results over a cup of coffee?


I must salute you the Lawyer for looking for 'mens rea' on the side of the victim !

You have used your brain, but let me try as well. If the Judge did not call the lady there, what else is the possibility ? How could she even have known that the Judge is there waiting to be preyed upon ? And what would her motive be ? To "achieve some results" after keeping quiet for 1 year ? Interesting argument indeed. And you are now going to ask her what she was wearing. I get the drift.

Mens rea is certainly interesting here from the other side. Surely there is nothing wrong in checking into a hotel room, but could the Judge have met her in the lobby ? If not, why not ? For the good part, the Judge did not persist. That needs some consideration, but not his grandfatherliness (my view).
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Like +1 Object -3 Lawyer Myself 15 Nov 13, 11:36
Quoting Coward Myself:
Quoting Lawyer myself:
A good move by Stella to acheive atleast something out of the 'harrassment' that is safe future for other girls, now that her conscience has taken a call 1 year after the incident.
Perhaps,she did not achieve desired results out of her intership with the Hon'ble Judge.
By the way, Ms Stella it would be a great help to investigators and lawyers in common, if you can also disclose the motive of walking into Jugde's hotel room. Did he call you there to discuss your research results over a cup of coffee?


I must salute you the Lawyer for looking for 'mens rea' on the side of the victim !

You have used your brain, but let me try as well. If the Judge did not call the lady there, what else is the possibility ? How could she even have known that the Judge is there waiting to be preyed upon ? And what would her motive be ? To "achieve some results" after keeping quiet for 1 year ? Interesting argument indeed. And you are now going to ask her what she was wearing. I get the drift.

Mens rea is certainly interesting here from the other side. Surely there is nothing wrong in checking into a hotel room, but could the Judge have met her in the lobby ? If not, why not ? For the good part, the Judge did not persist. That needs some consideration, but not his grandfatherliness (my view).


Ok so you already decided, who the victim here is. Victim according to you is the one who complains, cries foul or you have the Divine Eye to see what occoured and decide who the victim is? You should sit next to the Jugdes of the Supreme Court, you will help decide matters in secs. Your Divine Eye will also make you see what victims wore when they got victimized.
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Like +0 Object -0 Rajan 19 Nov 13, 19:43
One would assume that a SC judge would be living in a palatial bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi. If the incident happened in Delhi, it is a bit intriguing that he had checked into a hotel in the first place!
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Like +2 Object -0 Again! 16 Nov 13, 14:00
On Nov 11/12, the CJI directed that it was mandatory for the police to file a FIR if a complaint discloses a cognizable offence - and here they go setting up a 3-Judge "inquiry committee", which in turn asks the poor intern to come and depose before them?!?!?!?!! Where/Who is the Accused Person?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Make that deposition a public process - protect the poor child, PLEEEASE!!!

A woman has said that a particular man has sexually abused her.. To everyone around, that is the disclosure of a cognizable offence, dear Mr. CJI!!

Now the whole drama will predictably unfold. The girl and her family will be badgered. The "dignity" of the great SC of I will be upheld by hook or by b...y crook!!
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Like +0 Object -0 Avinash Lewis 17 Nov 13, 03:49
I agree with you 100%

I can't understand why CJI ordered a committee in first place that suggests something??

Regards
Avinash Lewis
UN
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Like +0 Object -0 Rajan 19 Nov 13, 18:45
I do not understand the squeamishness on the part of the young lawyer in not revealing the identity of the judge. She has given enough clues which, with a little effort and research, any one conversant with the Supreme Court topography can zero in on the individual. The man had put her through enormous mental agony and she says that she was always kind to her! Sexual predators are always kind to their victims, to begin with. When you want to fight, come out and fight with no holds barred. Otherwise, keep mum, as, according to your own findings, other women who had gone through similar experiences have kept the matter to themselves. Such half-hearted approach is not fair either to yourself or to the man at whom you are pointing an accusing finger.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 06 Dec 13, 21:03
The case of (Retired)Justice A K Ganguly now must be processed
swiftly under Law of the land. Considering the recommendations/ observations/
verdict of the three member sexual harassment panel of sitting judges of the
Apex court, there is certainly a need to thoroughly cleanse the Bench and the
Bar.

We are presented with cases pertaining to higher judiciary. The position in subordinate judiciary across the country would be alarmingly worse.

One wonders why the highest court was so cryptic in its judgment.
It could have given further directions pursuant to vishakha and subsequent cases, and could as well lay down a specific procedure to inquire into this particular case, where the accused is no less than a retired SC judge.

The public could always question the merit of all previous judgements passed by (Retired)
Justice A K Ganguly during his tenure, including the landmark judgment against
minister A Raja in 2-G scam.

However, the three member inquiry committee of three sitting
judges of the Hon’ble Supreme court must be regarded as fair and independent
and above being intimidated by the high stature of the accused. There is a prima facie evidence of reprehensible conduct ,rather misconduct, by
the retired judge.This is the gospel truth.

The case must now be followed up appropriately by the Police under Section
354 of the Indian Penal Code:

X x x

“Whoever assaults or uses criminal force
to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will
thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with
both”

X x x

As per media report, a former law faculty dean of Delhi
University, Prof SN Singh, had filed a complaint with Tilak Marg police
station in New Delhi in respect of the
alleged sexual harassment of the intern by the former Supreme Court judge,Let
this complaint be converted into the FIR and processed accordingly.

The moot point is : Whether the Delhi police will be capable
of conducting fair investigation into A K Ganguli?Will it not be overawed by his
high stature ?

A K SAXENA (A retired civil servant)

www.aksaxena.co.in
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Like +1 Object -0 mohan 08 Dec 13, 10:22
unfortunately this happens everywhere in india at all levels only with a difference of degree. my experience shows that one upon a time this noble legal profession has become a money making business and an instrument in hands of those who are in settled positions, power and authority. no morals. however some exceptions do exist and will exist which will ultimately prevail over these evils.
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Like +1 Object -0 honestamit 06 Jan 14, 11:09
[...]
There seems to be something very shady about this woman PIL activist supporting Justice Ganguly. [...]
It is unlikely that a doctor will come from UK to file a PIL in India and appear in person to protect Ganguli unless there is some connection between the two for some ulterior motive. Normally a woman would support another woman, who has been a victim of sexual assault by a Judge of the Supreme Court especially when the petitioner herself has been a victim of such an assault as reported in the media. May be Ganguli has hired this seasoned woman PIL petitioner to appear in person and protect himself (so as to turn one woman against another) so that the media attention and the public heat is diverted away from him. Ganguli should be brave to resign and face the trial just like Bapu Asharam ji, Tarun Tejpal and others.
Let’s us all unite and support this hapless young lady Intern to get justice. She is only 20 yrs old. She would never dare to make a false complaint against her own boss who was also a Senior Supreme Court Justice. It was very magnanimous of the Chief Justice who ordered an independent enquiry consisting of 3 sitting Justices of the Supreme Court who indicted Ganguly and reported that a prima facie case existed against the accused judge. Ganguly also says the same thing “ I am being framed for political reasons”. The same thing was said by Bapu Asharam ji and Arun Tejpal and all others in similar crime. Justice should be done and equal for everyone. Ganguly cannot be an exception.
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Like +0 Object -0 Confused Zeus Says . . . 06 Jan 14, 12:05
Hi Kian,

This is an extremely fact intensive comment naming various individuals. Some of the comments also border on defamation. Personally, I don't believe that this should be published unless the facts are verified.
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