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Kerala HC dismisses Civic Chandran case judge’s challenge of transfer

The plea of the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Kozhikode, challenging his transfer to the post of Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Kollam has been dismissed by the Kerala High Court on Thursday.

The judge had made a controversial “sexually provocative dress”remark while granting bail to Civic Chandran in a sexual harassment case, for which was transferred.

The bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman said that the petitioner, was not prejudiced in any manner for his posting as Presiding Officer of Labour Court, which is a post born from the cadre of district judge.

He added that the transfer order does not infringe any legal right of the petitioner the grounds raised in the writ petition do not justify the grant of any plea sought for.

The counsel for the petitioner during the last hearing had submitted that a judicial officer can be transferred before completing the three-year term in a post only if it is necessary for the administration or under special circumstances.

He added that a wrong order passed while discharging judicial duty cannot be a ground for transfer.

He also added that the post of Presiding Officer of a Labour Court is a deputation post for which the consent of the petitioners is essential and this was not sought.

Since the consent of the petitioner is not obtained, it is contended that the posting of the petitioner as a Presiding Officer, Labour Court, Kollam is illegal.

However, the Court had remarked that the transfer order was an order simpliciter, and there wasn’t anything in the order to show that the transfer was made for passing an erroneous order.

Furthermore, the Court also observed that the transfer to the post of Presiding Officer of a Labour Court is not a deputation as it is well within the cadre of the Principle District Judge.

The Judge, on August 12, had observed that  complaint of sexual harassment is not prima facie maintainable if the woman was wearing a sexually provocative dress. The Judge went on to remark that the defacto complainant herself is exposing to dresses which are having some sexual, provocative one”, and this remark sparked a massive social media outrage, following which the Kerala Government moved to the High Court, challenging the order citing that the reasoning given by the Sessions Court suffered from “illegality, lack of sensitivity, sobriety and perversity”. The controversial order was later stayed by the Kerala High Court in the challenging the order citing that the reasoning given by the Sessions Court suffered from “illegality, lack of sensitivity, sobriety and perversity The controversial order was later stayed by the Kerala High Court in the challenge made by the State Government.

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