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sexual harassment

05 June 2014

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) cannot take any action against retired Supreme Court (SC) justice and National Green Tribunal (NGT) head Swatanter Kumar in the sexual harassment complaint against him, as the charges are from when he was an SC judge, the MoEF told the SC, reported the Express.

The MoEF relied on the precedent set in the case of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson and former chief justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan, and also sought deletion of its name as a party in the case of sexual harassment filed by Kumar’s former intern against him.

14 May 2014

Swatanter Kumar A former intern, who had alleged that ex-Supreme Court judge Swatanter Kumar has sexually harassed her in 2011, has applied to the Supreme Court to transfer Kumar’s defamation case.

23 April 2014

From Facebook pageThe advocate who has been banned from the Supreme Court premises for six months by the court’s new sexual harassment committee and the CJI, said he would seek a review of the order.

22 April 2014

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court sexual harassment committee has banned an advocate from the Supreme Court premises for six months for an incident of sexual harassment.

17 April 2014

A woman has allegedly been molested inside a Delhi high court room while she was accompanied by her father and lawyer.

An unnamed man allegedly first stared at her in the court's lobby, later stood beside her and put his hand on her shoulder, and then touched her inappropriately on 5 March. CCTV footage is being examined. [Times of India]

30 March 2014

Now professor of law, social policy and women's studies in the US, Hill says despite her critics working to destroy her for accusing Thomas of sexual harassment and the ensuing senate hearings, she has survived and "created a vocabulary around sex harassment where none existed before", reports the NYT, in the month a documentary about her life will hit theatres.

"I can't even imagine a hearing today where a woman would come forth with an accusation of sexual harassment and it would be ignored," says a US lawmaker.

Here's hoping we can say the same in India less than 23 years from now. [NYT] [#InternJudge]

26 March 2014

Fali NarimanFali Nariman and PP Rao have completed their recommendations to the Supreme Court in what procedure to follow in case of sex harassment allegations against sitting and former judges.

25 February 2014

NUJS Kolkata vice chancellor Ishwara Bhatt announced at the law school's convocation that its guidelines to protect of interns from sexual harassment would be published on its website soon, reported the Telegraph.

The report added that Bhatt promised that if an intern’s employer does not take action against a harasser on receiving a complaint of sexual harassment from the university, the university will “help the intern in a suitable way”.

The report stated that the policy follows sexual harassment allegations by former NUJS students against ex-Supreme Court Justice AK Ganguly, and "another Supreme Court judge", whose name the paper did not specify.

Newspapers reported in January that one of former Justice Swatanter Kumar's NUJS interns, while he was still a sitting judge, alleged that the judge sexually harassed her. Kumar has filed a defamation suit against several newspapers, which will next get heard on 19 May, obtaining a temporary and partial restriction on media reporting the allegations against him without also stating that they are mere allegations.

20 February 2014

Cal client complains HC advocate sexually harassed her: A Kolkata college professor has complained to the Calcutta High Court Bar Association that an advocate whom she had instructed had sexually harassed her during the course of her litigation. The association will now convene an executive committee meeting to decide whether a probe committee will be constituted to probe into the professor’s allegations [TOI]

Wrongfully enrolled advocates to be filtered out in TN: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has asked the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu to suspend enrolled lawyers who, after 2009, took admission to law colleges in violation of the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) legal education rules including that relating to age limit [PTI]

AAP asks SC to hold President’s rule in Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party has approached the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to impose President’s rule in Delhi after the resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi chief minister. The petition called it a “malafide” and “unconstitutional” move to rule Delhi by proxy and delay fresh assembly polls [NDTV]

Madras HC black day: The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHCAA) observed February 19 as a black day as several advocates and Judges were injured in a clash between police and lawyers on that day. The MHCAA also demanded suspension of senior police officials and a withdrawal of the appeal filed before the Supreme Court against the High Court order "to protect the accused police officials." [PTI]

Bill for tribunal rules’ uniformity: A bill to make tribunal tenure, allowances and appointments uniform and governed by a single law instead of the current more than 20 Acts, has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha [PTI]

SC overrules TN call to free Rajiv Gandhi killers: The Supreme Court, following the central government’s appeal, has stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to let the convicted assassins of Rajiv Gandhi walk, after the SC had on Monday commuted the killers’ death penalty to life sentences [TOI]

Vodafone claims gov’t declined ‘int'l conciliation mechanisms’: Telco giant Vodafone yesterday countered finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement that its tax dispute with Indian tax authorities was yet unresolved due to its “indecisiveness”. Vodafone released a statement that it had always “responded to the government’s queries in a timely manner, notwithstanding, at one point, a six month delay by the Indian government in responding to correspondence sent by Vodafone”, with the government refusing to “international conciliation mechanisms” [Mint]

J&K courts: 14 courts of Special Mobile Magistrates (Sub-Judge Level) and 22 Courts of Additional Mobile Magistrate (Munsif level) have been set up in Jammu & Kashmir under the 13th finance commission [PTI]

19 February 2014

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court's sexual harassment committee has explained how sexual harassment complaints against practising lawyers and court staff should be made in future.

14 February 2014

Swatanter Kumar The Supreme Court has adjourned its hearing in the public interest litigation (PIL) against Swatanter Kumar until 26 March, as two more interveners attempted to join the PIL.

13 February 2014

Supreme Court convenes tomorrow Legally India has obtained a copy of the public interest litigation filed by anonymous lawyer X, a former intern of ex-Supreme Court judge Swatanter Kumar, whose case will again get heard by the Supreme Court tomorrow (14 February).

11 February 2014

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) asked solicitor general Mohan Parasaran if National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Swatanter Kumar can face removal proceedings based on treating the SC sexual harassment petition against him as “written complaint”, reported the Indian Express.

An ex-intern of the former Supreme Court justice had filed a petition in the SC for action against Kumar, alleging that he had sexually harassed her during her internship with him. The NGT Act empowers the MoEF to remove Kumar from the post of chairperson if it is found that he has “abused his position so as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to public interest”.

However, the government can only initiate removal proceedings after receiving a written complaint against the chairperson. The SC has not yet given any opinion on the ex-intern’s allegations.

03 February 2014

The Supreme Court Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) has received two complaints of sexual harassment since it was set up on 26 November 2013, reported the PTI, citing the GSICC Annual Report (PDF):

In the First Meeting of the GSICC held on 9/12/2013, an Internal Sub-Committee of three members was constituted in terms of Clause 9(1) of the said Regulations. The three members are Ms. Indu Malhotra, Senior Advocate, Mr. L. Nageshwar Rao, Senior Advocate and Ms. Bharti Ali, Co-Director, HAQ.

Two complaints received by the GSICC from aggrieved women lawyers have been submitted to the Internal Sub-Committee. The Internal Sub-Committee initiated the process of examining the two complaints. As far as the Complainant in GSICCNo. 1/2013 is concerned, her statement was video-recorded on 12.12.2013. The Complainant in GSICC No.2/2013 appeared on 16.12.2013 and the video-recording of her statement was deferred at her request. Both the complaints are pending disposal with the internal sub-committee.

While further details of the complaints were not disclosed, the committee does not have the power to investigate complaints against judges, which hit the headlines shortly before the committee was constituted.

16 January 2014

Swatanter wins media blackout: The Delhi HC has provided former SC judge Swatanter Kumar interim relief in the defamation suit he had filed against three media houses. The HC prohibited the media from publishing anything beyond the court’s orders in his ex-intern’s sexual harassment PIL against him, including his photographs [Hindustan Times]

Bar boycott of Swatanter’s NGT: The All India Bar Association has asked its over 10,000 Delhi members to boycott the National Green Tribunal’s Delhi bench until its current head Swatanter Kumar quits the post. Kumar is accused of sexual harassment by his former intern from NUJS Kolkata [PTI]

Judges immune from sex harassment complaints: The Supreme Court was yesterday stuck on the question of absence of mechanism to deal with sexual misconduct cases against its sitting and retired judges, while hearing the ex-intern’s sexual harassment case against Swatanter Kumar. The matter has been posted to 14 February for further hearing [DNA India]

CBI to get more autonomy: CBI on the road to autonomy has gained central government secretary-rank status for its chief and power to approve spending up to Rs 15 crore, as opposed to earlier when it infamously waited 100 days for government approval on a laptop’s purchase and three months for a mobile phone [TOI]

14 January 2014

Swatanter Kumar ex-intern PIL admitted: Former SC judge Swatanter Kumar’s ex-intern from NUJS Kolkata who had made sexual harassment allegations against him yesterday moved a petition in the SC for inquiry against him. The intern challenged the SC’s 5 December 2013 full court resolution that it could take no action against Kumar because he was now retired, although he was not at the time of making the allegation.

The intern is supported in her petition by additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, and advocates Kamini Jaiswal, Harish Salve and Vrinda Grover.

The Chief’s court agreed to take up the matter on 15 January [PTI]

NUJS intern sex harassment policy: NUJS Kolkata will, by next month, ready a policy to formally deal with complaints of sexual harassment by its students against anyone they intern with through the university. The law school will also sensitise students on how to deal with any incidence of sexual harassment during internships [Firstpost]

ML Sharma Legally India-CIA link petition dismissed: “ML Sharma [was upset] over @IJaising, @LegallyIndia & @kianganz in CJI's court accusing them of CIA funding for reporting [sexual harassment], Swantantar.” tweeted @JaskiratSB yesterday. Chief Justice of India Sathasivam declined to entertain Sharma’s writ petition, which sought action against the intern, “a website and a national daily” for publishing the “defamatory” allegation, reported the PTI.

13 January 2014

Swatanter Kumar lashes back: Former SC judge and National Green Tribunal head Swatanter Kumar – who was accused of sexual harassment by an ex-intern from NUJS Kolkata according to Friday’s media reports – sent a legal notice to three media houses demanding an apology from them within 24 hours for publishing “incredulous and false” allegations against him [PTI]

Clifford Chance now CV-blind to nix Oxbridge bias: UK-magic circle firm Clifford Chance has introduced the “CV-blind” policy for graduate recruitment, giving no information of a candidate’s institutional affiliation to final interviewers at the firm, to reduce the Oxbridge bias in its intake. In its first year of operation the scheme saw 100 recruits from 41 different educational institutes – a 30 per cent rise in the number representation from last year [Independent]

Delhi judiciary transfer lists released: The transfer lists for the Delhi lower and higher judiciary have been released. All six joint registrars of the Delhi HC have now been replaced, and two new registrars have also been added with creation of two new courts for them. 49 judges from the lower judiciary have been promoted to the higher judiciary with the creation of 39 new courts in he higher judiciary for them [DK Mahant]

Bombay HC pendency busting judge: Bombay HC justice Gautam S Patel has, targeting pendency reduction, realigned his case schedule according to urgency of matters. He has also drawn a weekly working schedule for the court and categorised all pending cases [New Indian Express]

Himachal HC judges retire: Himachal Pradesh HC judtices Kuldip Singh and DD Sud will retire, respectively, on 17 January and 18 February [Hindustan Times]

06 January 2014

Bombay HC new judges
The Bombay HC got five new additional judges today in lawyers Vinay Manohar Deshpande, Ajey Gadkari, Nitin Sambre, Girish Kulkarni and B S Colabawalla [PTI]

NGT not HC-enough for suo motu
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has no power to take cognisance of cases on its own, said the Madras HC, restraining the NGT’s southern bench from suo motu cases [TOI]

Costly NLUD fees are fine, says HC 
Dismissing a student’s plea against NLU Delhi’s fee structure and compulsory residential university status which is otherwise not mandatory under BCI rules, the Delhi HC said comparing the university with any old engineering college will be like comparing apples with oranges [PTI]

The SC has given the go ahead for initiating trial court proceedings against former Punjab & Haryana HC judge Nirmal Yadav for the cash-at-judge’s-door scam [Indian Express]

Chamber allotment struggles
The Rohini District Court Lawyers Allotment Committee allegedly arbitrarily denied allotment of a chamber to a disabled advocate despite him not only fitting all eligibility criteria but there also being a quota for the physically challenged in the court. The Committee has now assured the Delhi HC to give the advocate a fresh hearing [PTI]

Irresponsible executive criticism of #377
Chief justice of India P Sathasivam decried as irresponsible the statements of four union minister’s criticising the apex court’s judgment re-criminalising gay sex. “Except making our displeasure we can’t do anything. Though the statements are not appreciable we are not inclined to entertain the petition," he added while dismissing a social activist’s petition seeking disqualification for the four ministers on the ground that through their statements they “violated the secrecy of oath” [NDTV]

CBI to probe false allegations against judge
The CBI may soon probe the case of lobbyist TG Nandakumar who sent a letter to the Supreme Court Chief Justice and others falsely claiming that Madras HC judge C.K. Abdul Rahim had SIMI connections and close links with crime syndicate leader Dawood Ibrahim [Deccan Chronicle]

UK lawyers go on strike over legal aid cuts
In first-ever boycott of work, barristers (and solicitors) of England and Wales didn’t turn up to court for a half-day to protest a 30 per cent slash down in legal aid fees. “The legal aid dispute has become more polarised as the MoJ attempts to portray criminal lawyers as overpaid fat cats” -criminal lawyers disagree, reported The Guardian

Back to court-kindergarten
The Madras HC has launched a course titled “Redefining Legal Practices” for advocates with at least a 10 year PQE to teach them court craft, drafting and arguments [TOI]

Krishna Iyer J on JAC
Former Justice Krishna Iyer argues that the judicial appointments commission (JAC) must be totally independent and immune to legal proceedings in The Hindu

Kerala bar suspends colleague over sexism post
Before being suspended by the Calicut Bar Association, she wrote on her Facebook wall that male colleagues “address women as ‘sugar candy’ ‘dear’ and follow them with comments such as ‘you are so beautiful’ and the like. All of them follow the ‘Prem Nazir’ style of old Malayalam films. They dont seem to be familiar with newer films. It’s the same old way of making women either lovers or sisters; destroying them either by ‘caring’ for them or ‘keeping’ them. I pity all those who follow such a style.” [Kafila / India Today]

06 January 2014

Media trial LI reporter Prachi Shrivastava argues that, to date, the pillars of the Indian constitution have been remarkably efficient and fair in the investigation and reporting of the sexual harassment allegations against former Supreme Court Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly.