The Supreme Court on Thursday declines to hear a petition filed by a Principal District Judge, Madhya Pradesh seeking directions to quash the show cause notice issued by the High Court to start a fresh disciplinary inquiry against him regarding allegation of sexual harassment at work place
A two judge bench of headed comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee & Justice Surya Kant declined to hear the plea and told the petitioner to approach High Court.
Petitioner, Shambhoo Singh Raghuvanshi is presently posted as Principal District Judge, Madhya Pradesh and had challenged the show cause notice issued by the Inquiry Committee headed by sitting High Court Judge into alleged sexual offence.
The Petition had stated, “This is a classic case where the facts are speaking for themselves as to how the Gender Sensitisation Internal Complaint Committee (“GSICC” for short), completely negated the provisions of Section 10 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, (hereinafter referred to as “the Act” for short) by rejecting the Application for conciliation submitted by the complainant i.e. Complainant.”
The Complaint alleging sexual harassment was made by the Civil Judge Class –II Khandwa in year 2018, to the Respondent No.1/ The High Court of Madhya Pradesh.
It was contended by the petitioner that the complaint was baseless and was deliberately sent in a jumbled manner, sans specifics and chronology of the alleged sexual harassment. It was also alleged that the Complainant had bypassed the Committee which was already in place and was constituted by the Hon’ble High Court for dealing with the matters relating to Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place.
It was submitted in the petition that, “he has an unblemished career spanning over 32 years with sterling record of service. He is due to superannuate at the end of the year, 2020 and he is at the fag end of his service.”
“All these actions have been done at a time when the petitioner is in the zone of consideration for being considered for elevation. The action has apparently been kept pending for last more than two years with a view to harm the career prospects of the petitioner at a time when he is in the zone of consideration,” stated in the plea.
The petitioner had submitted that “principles of natural justice have been violated, by the GSICC in the conduct of the inquiries. That the action is also unreasonable and arbitrary for the simple reason that the foundation of the action in holding a preliminary enquiry against the petitioner, as also the subsequent action of the GSICC in recording partial statement of the complainant both were done behind his back and in complete violation of “audi alteram partem” rule i.e. that no person can be condemned unheard or in other words that ‘Justice should not only been done but seen to be done.”
-India Legal Bureau
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