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SC constitutes Vishaka-compliant sex harassment panel with 7 women, as CJI assures #InternJudge justice

SC: Sets up panel
SC: Sets up panel
The Supreme Court has constituted a workplace sexual harassment panel that is compliant with the so-called Vishaka guidelines, including a majority of female members and two members of civil society nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

The notification was published on the Supreme Court website today and lists 10 members, of whom seven are women, two are judges and two are from civil society. [link to PDF, hat-tip @mohitsingh8 via Twitter]

The panel is chaired by Justice Ranjana Desai, who is also a member of the three-judge inquiry committee examining the allegation of sexual harassment against a former judge by an intern, and also includes Justice Madan B Lokur from the Supreme Court bench.

Senior advocates are represented by L Nageswara Rao and Indu Malhotra, with Bina Madhavan being on the panel as a representative of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

Advocate-on-record B Sunita Rao and Madhu Chauhan of the Supreme Court Clerks Association, and Supreme Court additional registrar Rachna Gupta round out the panel’s members related to the Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) also nominated Bharti Ali, the co-director of HAQ - Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi, and Prof Dr G Mohan Gopal, who is the director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies in Delhi.

The panel was made in exercise of clause 4(2) of the Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the  Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Regulations, 2013, which were notified in October 2013 after being drawn up in July.

The regulations required between seven and 13 members on the panel, of whom the majority should be women.

At a function today, CJI P Sathasivam said that “justice will be done in all respect” in the case of the intern allegedly harassed by a former judge, reported the PTI. He said:

During my short stint, an incident of alleged aberration has come to light through media reports. On the very same day, I constituted a three-member Committee to look into it. I assure every one that justice will be done in all respect.

My humble request is that any casual carefree remark which may have the tendency of causing irreparable damage to the Institution may be delicately considered before reporting as it may have the impact not only at the national level but also internationally.

Reporting may be done considering the Institution and not the individual by balancing equities. Every sensitive matter, therefore, needs to be dealt with more sensitivity, lest it should cause irreparable harm and has the tendency of not putting the clock back.

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