Lawyers demand action against Justice Swantanter Kumar

New Delhi, Jan.11: Following revelations about sexual harassment allegations being leveled against another ex Supreme Court justice, lawyers on Saturday demanded action against the judge.

Justice Swatanter Kumar has been accused of sexual harassment by a law intern, an alumnus of National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), who worked with her in 2011.

Senior advocate, Kamini Jaiswal said that it was the responsibility of the Supreme Court to take steps in the matter.

"The allegation against former judge is of the time when he was a judge and it is on record that the girl was working with him as an intern. Therefore, it is the duty of the Supreme Court that it should take action in this matter as soon as possible," said Jaiswal.

The intern later quit in May 2011 after she was disturbed by the behaviour of the former judge.

She had recently filed a complaint against Kumar along with an affidavit seeking action against him.

Hailing the legal system, former Delhi High Court judge, R.S. Sodhi said that law would take its own course of action if the girl's statement is found credible.

"As far as the law is concerned, the law is clear that the statement of this girl is sufficient if it is found credible and the limitation is no barrier if explained satisfactorily," said Sodhi.

The case also sparked debate among the politicians, as they expressed concern over increase in the number of harassment at workplaces.

A senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sushma Swaraj said that justice should be delivered.

"The matter should be investigated and justice should be delivered," said Swaraj in Nagpur.

However, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari blamed the girl for not reporting of such an incident much earlier.

"I am unable to understand that why such women or girls who are educated and are aware of the law do not report of such incidents when it takes place," said Tiwari.

This is yet another case in which a former judge of Supreme Court has been accused of sexual harassment. Recently, a law intern had accused former Supreme Court Justice A.K. Ganguly of sexual assault.

Ganguly's case had created a media furore, with female lawyers and activists calling for the country's top court to investigate the incident and for the accused judge to be named publicly.

In his case, it was for the first time that Supreme Court had set up an internal inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against a presiding or former judge.

The case is one of a small but growing number in which victims of alleged sexual harassment have come forward to complain about powerful male superiors.

--ANI (Posted on 11-01-2014)

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