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The #InternJudge story so far and latest: Outlook nearly names | Activist FIRs ML Sharma | Justice AKG’s no-comment comment | Hindu on SC dynamics

Last Tuesday's TOI frontpageLast Tuesday's TOI frontpage

The allegation early this month that a “recently-retired” Supreme Court judge sexually harassed at least one intern (“SJ”) in December 2012 hit the national headlines with the Times of India’s frontpage last Tuesday. Since then, print, online and TV media news have been reporting the story’s twists and turns avidly.

The story, if you’ve not been following it, centres around SJ’s original blog post of 6 November, last Monday’s (11 November) Legally India interview with SJ and a second intern’s apparent corroboration of parts of SJ’s account on social media, which Legally India reported on Thursday.

SJ, who is a graduate of NUJS Kolkata and currently a fellow of an NGO, has since requested privacy during the ongoing judicial inquiry in the affair, constituted by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on Tuesday, which was initiated after Attorney General of India Goolam Vahanvati mentioned it before the court.

SJ is expected to depose before the inquiry, chaired by Justices RM Lodha, HL Dattu and Ranjana P Desai , today in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, bystanders have been getting involved too: a former Delhi University professor filed a criminal complaint to launch an investigation against the judge based on SJ’s claims, while late on Saturday, self-styled legal activist and advocate ML Sharma launched a petition for contempt proceedings against the intern, TOI, LI and others.

(All Legally India coverage relating to the case is available here)

For those who missed it, LI has compiled a summary of original reporting, news or opinion the papers have carried over the past few days:

An Outlook magazine feature on Friday has stopped just short of naming the former Supreme Court judge alleged of sexual harassment, describing him as a two-time high court chief justice who “adjudicated a high-profile scam that triggered the freefall of the UPA’s reputation” while at the apex court, having become the chief of a human rights body after retirement. He is also closely linked to NUJS Kolkata, whose vice-chancellor the magazine asked for a comment (“it’s really quite embarrassing”, responded Ishwara Bhat). Outlook also asked the judge, who remains unnamed in the media despite being somewhat easy to identify from the hints, for comment: “I have nothing to say, I request you not to ask me any questions about it.” [Nikhil Kanekal: Your Honour Lost]

Lucknow-based social activist Dr Nutan Thakur filed a first information report (FIR) against advocate ML Sharma, who is appearing before the Supreme Court today to initiate contempt proceedings and a CBI investigation against the intern, the Times of India, Legally India, and the Attorney General of India [TOI report / Copy of Thakur’s complaint]

The Mail Today asks Justice AK Ganguly, who retired in February 2012, for a comment about the case. Ganguly responds by saying he does not want to comment, but then comments on SJ’s story: “I do not want to make any comments at this juncture. But this allegation is coming after almost a year and that too through a blog. A committee has been formed by the Supreme Court and it will take a decision after recording the girl’s statement.” [Mail Online]

Perceptive column in The Hindu looking into the Supreme Court’s dynamics on sexual harassment and internships: “The possibility of sexual abuse looms large in any fiduciary relationship, in any industry and at any workplace. What sets apart the allegation by a former law student and intern that she was harassed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court from others is that it was made, in the first place. For all its progressive pronouncements against sexual harassment at the workplace, the Supreme Court has come up woefully short in addressing the issue within its fraternity,” argues the paper’s assistant editor Arun Mohan Sukumar. “The Supreme Court must swiftly investigate the matter, verify the allegation made and dispense what the law should but rarely does: Justice.” [The Hindu: If it may please the Supreme Court]

Senior counsel (and ASG and Lawyers Collective founder) Indira Jaising argues that despite the Supreme Court gender sensitisation guidelines not falling under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the intern would be protected by the law [Outlook: She Will Be Protected]

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Like +4 Object -1 Humanrace 18 Nov 13, 13:29
I am sorry that unfortunately AKG's name is appearing for all wrong reasons. I know AKG for over a decade and I also know him how sober he is and was. It is just like the clouds trying to cover up the Sun, but how long the clouds can hold the same. The Sun has to appear and it will appear and clouds will be scattered.
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Like +0 Object -0 @Humanrace 19 Nov 13, 04:25
Quoting Humanrace:
I am sorry that unfortunately AKG's name is appearing for all wrong reasons. I know AKG for over a decade and I also know him how sober he is and was. It is just like the clouds trying to cover up the Sun, but how long the clouds can hold the same. The Sun has to appear and it will appear and clouds will be scattered.

When there aren't any right reasons, it has to appear for the wrong ones!
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Like +2 Object -0 Junior 18 Nov 13, 15:48
^ Considering the allegations, count yourself lucky! Or maybe, you are a man. Born lucky then.
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Like +0 Object -5 Pksl24 18 Nov 13, 18:19
Where's the evidence? How do u gather evidence in such matters? If Sj could not back up her story, she had no business to allude to a specific judge, let's see what the sc panel observes, doubt that anything will be achieved.
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Like +7 Object -0 kianganz 18 Nov 13, 18:26  interesting
So you're saying, if you can't prove something happened, you should shut up about it and take it? Like after a rape, you should shut up if there are no bruises or other 'medical evidence', for example, and it's just your word against the perpetrator's?

In terms of your saying she alluded to a specific judge, she never actually alluded to any judge, apart from saying that he had "recently retired". That's vague enough to be any judge who retired in the last week, to the last five years, since what anyone means by 'recently' is completely subjective.
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Like +0 Object -0 Just another guest 19 Nov 13, 09:23
Quoting kianganz:
So you're saying, if you can't prove something happened, you should shut up about it and take it? Like after a rape, you should shut up if there are no bruises or other 'medical evidence', for example, and it's just your word against the perpetrator's?



Well Kian, i think the most important point being made here is how will SJ manage to prove the assault. I am not doubting one bit what she is saying, but considering the lack of witness in this case (something which even SJ acknowledges), it might be a tough task to get justice here. I sincerely hope that if [...] is guilty, then this case be used to set an example. We have seen how cops have failed in protecting Indian women, and judiciary was the only organ people were banking on to get any justice, even though it takes years to be done!

Also, kudos for providing such a coverage! I sincerely hope LI, unlike the mainstream media, follows this case to the conclusion!

Good luck
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Like +0 Object -2 Pksl24 18 Nov 13, 20:45
It's very clear who the judge is by virtue of the reference to Nujs and 'recently retired'. I am not saying that someone who is genuinely harassed should gulp it, i was merely questioning her motives which is logical. One cannot accept her allegations as gospel truth.
I also said that in such cases it is usually one persons word against another , as long as the alleged perpetrator is no longer in contact with the alleged victim and she is not under any threat of such harassment again, why sully an esteemed persons reputation? There is no mention of the judge in question attempting anything forceful or physical and why is it that she does not name him outright if he outraged her modesty, is it to protect herself from the legal consequences thereof?
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Like +0 Object -0 @Humanrace 19 Nov 13, 04:25
Quoting Pksl24:
It's very clear who the judge is by virtue of the reference to Nujs and 'recently retired'. I am not saying that someone who is genuinely harassed should gulp it, i was merely questioning her motives which is logical. One cannot accept her allegations as gospel truth.
I also said that in such cases it is usually one persons word against another , as long as the alleged perpetrator is no longer in contact with the alleged victim and she is not under any threat of such harassment again, why sully an esteemed persons reputation? There is no mention of the judge in question attempting anything forceful or physical and why is it that she does not name him outright if he outraged her modesty, is it to protect herself from the legal consequences thereof?

Surely the person is not stupid to be making a ridiculous allegation of this sort.
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Like +0 Object -0 Support 19 Nov 13, 04:26
Genuine kudos to JILS and LI for supporting this issue - high time.
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Like +0 Object -0 Just another guest 19 Nov 13, 09:24
Quoting Pksl24:
It's very clear who the judge is by virtue of the reference to Nujs and 'recently retired'. I am not saying that someone who is genuinely harassed should gulp it, i was merely questioning her motives which is logical. One cannot accept her allegations as gospel truth.
I also said that in such cases it is usually one persons word against another , as long as the alleged perpetrator is no longer in contact with the alleged victim and she is not under any threat of such harassment again, why sully an esteemed persons reputation? There is no mention of the judge in question attempting anything forceful or physical and why is it that she does not name him outright if he outraged her modesty, is it to protect herself from the legal consequences thereof?


I still dont think [...]'s name was that obvious. I am from NUJS and people who are not from NUJS had no clue who she was referring to.
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Like +0 Object -2 X 19 Nov 13, 14:18
NDTV is giving coverage to Mihira Sood so kudos to LI. However, I am disappointed that LI is bypassing the issues concerning the NUJS VC mentioned in the Outlook article. LI did the same thing when the VC's name appeared in TOI in connection with other problems at NUJS. It seems Kian and the NUJS VC are good friends.
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 19 Nov 13, 15:15
I agree. It seems, it was by virtue of the association the accused had with NUJS that the law student interned with him. It seems, he had retired from the SC by then. The organization responsible for inquiring into the incident would be NUJS. However, the SC has the power to give further directions pursuant to vishakha and subsequent cases, and may very well specify a different procedure to inquire into this particular case, where the accused is no less than a retired SC judge. The inquiry committee must be fair and independent and above being intimidated by the stature of the accused.
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Like +0 Object -0 Inquisitive 21 Nov 13, 12:45
What about the hushed up "Mysore sex scandal" involving three sitting judges of Karnataka High Court ? [...]. Why not cleanse the system thoroughly ?
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Like +0 Object -0 Guest 23 Nov 13, 15:53
There are many judges who have retired in the last one year. Why and on what basis OUTLOOK or anybody else should speculate and start presuming the reference must be to a particular retied judge who actually retired long back in February 2103 and many judges have retired within months of his retiring. This year 2013 has perhaps seen more judges retiring than any other single year in SC history. So let us be responsible and not start jumping to conclusions merely because the intern has referred to a "highly reputed" judge. Are not may of the other judges also highly reputed ?
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Like +0 Object -0 Rakesh Gupta 06 Dec 13, 08:58
This is one of the sad things that has developed in people's psyche where first thing people think is how to discredit the victim. Society at large is responsible for the bad behavior of these individuals by not severely and swiftly punishing them. Parents by not teaching their male child appropriate conduct and by not condoning the bad behavior of their own male child.

I personally know of a case where son has repeatedly raped his very young sister for years and when the man was caught by father he was merely scolded. And has never been punished for his barbaric and shameful actions. When girl who is now 13 started expressing her concerns and fear of her older brother she is being told by parents to shut up. Being emotionally blackmailed and people who she turn to get her to help by exerting some influence on her parents are being emotionally blackmailed too. School counselor who she turned to has expressed her inability to do anything because girls' parents don't want to do anything. Counselor has told her basically she can't do anything for her because there is no law to help her.

And to add to this parents are highly educated and very successful doctors in Delhi. They know what they are doing and their responsibility. I know I don't live in India but it's not excuse to shut up and let his go by and act as if this does not happen. I was told by the father that I should shut up as this does not relate to me, threatened with serious repercussion and emotional blackmail that if I speak that will be more detrimental to the girl as she will not be able to show her face. "How ingenious for parents for condoning their som"

In the given circumstances this girl will grow up accepting this as the norm of the society (similar to law intern who kept quiet for a long time) and the boy will grow up with the attitude that this is normal (judge in the reported case who is ready to discredit the girl on all accounts and most people around).

Parents need to accept their responsibility and stop condoning the bad behavior of these young boys and punish them for their mistakes from the beginning to make them responsible for their actions. This will not change by screaming some slogans on the Delhi rape case of last year and demand death penalty for those boys. I do not have any sympathy for them, those men deserve the full force of law. However the things will not change unless each one of us pledges that we will never condone mistakes of our own male child and empower our daughters by encouraging them to stand up. Without which this will not resolve.
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