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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has said it would not be possible to re-employ a former woman judge who had had quit her job after accusing a high court judge of sexual harassment.

In a response to a notice by the Supreme Court, the court has stated that the woman judge’s allegations of sexual harassment have already been rejected by the Inquiry committee and therefore her petition is not maintainable and liable to be dismissed”. The affidavit by the High Court added that she cannot be permitted to withdraw the resignation or to seek reinstatement since resignation once tendered and accepted by the employer cannot be withdrawn.

“The allegations of misbehaviour against Judge A were completely baseless. The employer i.e. the high court has not acted in any manner to compel the petitioner to tender her resignation,” stated the High Court.

The Supreme Court had in October issued notice to the Registrar General of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on a plea filed by the former woman judge who had alleged sexual harassment by a HC judge and resigned her job. The woman had resigned after alleging that she was sexually harassed by a judge of the high court. The top court has also sought a response from the high court within six weeks.

It all began when the Additional District and Sessions Court Judge at Gwalior alleged sexual harassment from a Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and narrated a number of incidents where she was the target of the judge’s ‘foul and malicious intentions’. The woman Judge said, “Call it a woman’s intuition but I was very cautious and disturbed… I ignored him and kept doing my work.”

Not only was the High Court Judge named accused but also three other judicial officers, who on the orders of the High Court Judge allegedly sexually assaulted the woman officer. The woman judge had quit in 2014 accusing a judge of the Gwalior bench of the high court of seeking sexual favours from her. The apex court has also agreed to examine the plea of reinstatement of the woman judicial judge. The woman judge had also written a letter to then Chief Justice of India explaining the reasons that forced her to resign from judicial service.

As per a report, an inquiry panel was set up in 2015 after 58 members of the Rajya Sabha gave the notice to move a motion to impeach the HC judge. The report by the committee was tabled in the Rajya Sabha in December last year.

Relying upon the findings on her transfer, the petitioner has sought her job back. However, the accused judge had said that he was ready to face the death penalty if the charges against him were found to be true. In order to safeguard his integrity, the sexual harassment accused had stepped down from his post, maintaining a stand of innocence.

—India Legal Bureau

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