A criticism of sexual harassment against the sitting Chief Justice of India turned into despatched (together with testimony and different assisting evidence) to the alternative sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India asking for the constitution of an inquiry committee of senior retired judges to analyze and adjudicate those extreme allegations.
The legal, institutional response to the sort of complaint as mandated underneath the “In-House Procedure” relevant to Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, along with the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) Act (“POSH Act”) read with the Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations, 2013, is for the specified inquiry committee to take the focus of the complaint, represent an inquiry committee and supply be aware to the respondent as to the initiation of such lawsuits.
Today, in an unheard-of flow beyond the scope of any regarded system or precept of regulation – whether or not under the “in-residence technique” or in the POSH Act or the Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations – a be aware became issued on the Supreme Court website that a ‘unique bench’ became being constituted to maintain court docket at 10:30 am on the mentioning by the solicitor general, even as the court docket has been on vacation on account that Wednesday and is scheduled to reopen best on Monday.
The note states that the purpose of the listening is “to cope with a matter of first-rate public significance touching upon the independence of the judiciary.”
The observer for the hearing
The bench comprised 3 judges of the Supreme Court, which includes the respondent himself:
1. Why changed into the respondent himself sitting in judgment over his very own case?
That no man shall be a judge in his very own reason is one of the most sacrosanct ideas of herbal justice that the court robotically preaches and enforces within the hundreds of cases it adjudicates each day. As a grasp of the roster, the Chief Justice has the only authority to represent the Bench. Did he not think it in shape to exclude himself from its composition.
2. Why have been no girls justices on this Special Bench?
Justice Indu Malhotra is the chairperson of the Internal Complaints Committee of the Supreme Court and changed into no longer included on this special bench. None of the opposite ladies’ justices of the Supreme Court have been covered both. Given that the POSH Act is crystal clear that the committee inquiring into sexual harassment should be headed by way of a lady and ought to include most ladies, why become this principle no longer observed whilst constituting a unique bench to reply to the criticism?
3. What was the reason for this hearing?
If the unique bench turned into now not assembling to address the grievance (and therefore no longer following the “In House Procedure”/POSH Act/ Sexual Harassment Regulations), then what becomes the purpose of convening a special bench of the court docket? Given that the inquiry is supposed to take region at the back of closed doors even as following a prescribed system, may want to these allegations ever be adjudicated in an open court docket?
4. Can this count number be taken up at the judicial facet?
There is a unique “in-residence system” governing inquiry into allegations in opposition to sitting Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. While the said in-residence procedure does not envisage a mechanism to be followed when a complaint is obtained against the Chief Justice of India themselves, it’s miles pertinent to spotlight the system laid out otherwise. Upon receiving a criticism towards a choice of the Supreme Court, the CJI shall study it first. If it is of a critical nature related to misconduct or impropriety, they shall ask for a response from the involved decide. Upon receiving his reaction, if the CJI thinks that the matter needs a deeper probe, he could constitute a committee including 3 judges of the Supreme Court, which shall then conduct an inquiry into the stated Complaint. As such, because the “in house system” prescribes no mechanism for court cases towards the CJI, it’s far clear that a person aggrieved with the aid of the acts of the CJI, in addition to the inquiry to observe, may be guided via the method as laid down for different judges in the “in-residence technique,” which mandates the constitution of a committee. The Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations, 2013 additionally has a selected method to be observed in the event of a grievanc. It doess no longer envisage any open court hearing at the judicial side as a method for responding to criticism.