Synopsis: The Supreme Court today issued notices in the appeal of a senior Madya Pradesh District Judge, to the Madhya Pradesh High Court for quashing a 2018 sexual harassment charge filed against him by a woman judicial officer.
The notice was issued to the Madhya Pradesh High Court by a bench comprising Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian and sought a response within six weeks.
The bench said it is a normal machine occurrence, all sorts of things tend to happen. The petitioner’s counsel submitted in front of the bench that his client had an unblemished 32 years of service, and the judge was about to be recommended for appointment to the High Court. He contended that a sudden, 2018 complaint surfaces are being initiated and an inquiry is underway.
The additional district and sessions judge had resigned after the alleged sexual harassment and filed a complaint with India’s then Chief Justice RM Lodha and senior judges of the Supreme Court. The additional district and sessions judge had resigned after the alleged sexual harassment and filed a complaint with India’s then Chief Justice RM Lodha and Senior Supreme Court judges. The woman had accused Gangele of sending a letter through the registrar of the district court, asking her to dance at an event in his residence. When she did not went, she claimed Gangele told her he missed the opportunity to watch an attractive and glamorous figure dancing on the floor.
The GSICC report recommended further action against the judge in disciplinary matter. At the apex court, that was challenged. The top court had asked the judge in June to appeal the High Court, which dismissed his plea. The petitioner claimed that the principles of natural justice was violated when the case against him was being handled. It is pleaded that, in compliance with Rule 7 (4) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 and Regulation 10 of 2015 Regulations stipulates that the standards of natural justice should be followed by the Internal Committee’s investigation of the case.
The plea contended that the GSICC began the inquiry under section 11 of the Act, which in law is forbidden to do so, by keeping the conciliation application pending for a long period of five months. The plea submitted that there is no power vested with the GSICC to conduct the inquiry in the present case once a conciliation application is submitted by the complainant and the GSICC has recorded a categorical finding that the allegations are not proved and that it would be just and proper to close the enquiry. In March 2018, a complaint of sexual harassment was made against the petitioner.