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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 frontpage
Last 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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