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Swatanter Kumar to tell SC why intern case should stay in Delhi, as J Manmohan Singh back in HC

The Supreme Court told KK Venugopal, the senior counsel for former Supreme Court Justice Swatanter Kumar, who is currently chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), that Kumar should respond to an apex court transfer petition within four weeks, which was filed by one of his former interns who alleged she was sexually harassed by him, reported the PTI.

Senior counsel Indira Jaising was arguing for the intern in the Supreme Court.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said: “We will have to go by the likelihood of the girl’s apprehensions. Not only must Justice be done, it must also be seen to be done.”

The defamation case in the Delhi high court brought by Kumar against the anonymous intern and three media organisations, was last heard on 11 July before a new judge, Justice Rajiv Shakdher. However, according to the order passed by Shakdher, “Learned counsels for the parties drew my attention to order dated 22.05.2014 and earlier orders. It is submitted that the matter is part heard before Hon’ble Mr Justice Manmohan Singh.”

The Delhi high court case was therefore listed before the original judge Justice Manmohan Singh again for 28 August 2014, pending the Supreme Court transfer petition. The transfer petition [read full copy here] argued for the transfer of the petition to Bangalore, because “has absolutely no chance of equal or near equal legal representation in Delhi and hence a fair trial will be jeopardized” and she “genuinely apprehends that she will not get fair trial in the Delhi High Court”.

The petition noted that “the entire atmosphere required for a free and fair trial does not exist in the High Court of Delhi”, which was “borne out by what transpired in the present suit and the manner in which interim order that was passed ex-parte” by Justice Manmohan Singh in January.

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