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Sexual Harassment charges: High Court Judge given clean chit by Rajya Sabha Committee

December 15,2017:

During the proceedings before Committee,  Justice Gangele denied all the allegations, with Committee eventually deciding in his favour.

Sexually Harassed

Three-member panel set up by Rajya Sabha to probe allegations of the sexual harassment against Justice SK Gangele of Madhya Pradesh HC has given the judge a clean chit.

Gormer Additional District and Sessions Judge had accused sitting Madhya Pradesh HC Judge Justice Gangele of sexual harassment.

Inquiry Committee set up by Rajya Sabha, headed by Justice R Banumathi, along with the Former Chief Justice of Bombay HC Manjula Chellur and Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, has held that sexual harassment charges “have not been proved” against Justice Gangele.

On Friday, the Report under The Inquiry Committee under The Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 had submitted its report to Rajya Sabha.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha Vice President Mr. Venkaiah Naidu mentioned that Report was made available to all members of the house and public.

According to the Report, Complainant had brought to light four separate incidents in which sitting judge allegedly made inappropriate remarks amounting to sexual harassment. She also alleged that she would get messages from judge through the District Registrar, asking her to meet him at his residence.

Also, it was alleged that Judge had allegedly refused to sign off on her transfer as a consequence of her not visiting him at his residence. It further alleged that he was instrumental in her being posted in a remote area in State. As a result of this and related acts, she was forced to resign from her post of the Additional District and Sessions Judge.

In 2014, Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh HC had constituted a two-member Committee to look into allegations against Justice Gangele.

However, Complainant had challenged Constitution of this Committee in Supreme Court, which held that role of the Chief Justice of High Court is limited to first stage of investigative process, and that he had exceeded the authority vested in him under “In-House Procedure”.

Thus, the Supreme Court constituted a three-member Committee of Justice DY Chandrachud (then Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC), Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Ajay Rastogi of Rajasthan High Court. This Committee concluded that material on record was insufficient to establish charge of the sexual harassment.

In the year 2015, Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari had admitted an impeachment motion in Upper House.

After certain changes to its composition, Inquiry Committee was formed to investigate charges and the grounds for removal of MP High Court Judge.

Justice Gangele was represented by Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra while Senior Advocate Indira Jaising appeared for complainant and ASG Sanjay Jain was appointed as the Amicus Curiae.


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