CJI seeks report on UP woman judge sexual harassment case after letter to ‘end life’

Victim alleged lack of empathy from judiciary towards her sexual harassment plea

D.Y. Chandrachud CJI D.Y. Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud has sought a report from Allahabad High Court in connection with an inquiry into the sexual harassment complaint filed by a woman civil judge from Banda, Uttar Pradesh. The Internal Complaint Committee of the Allahabad HC is dealing with the case.

A suicide plea of woman civil judge from Banda, Uttar Pradesh went viral on social media on Thursday as the judicial officer charged a lack of empathy from the system towards her sexual harassment plea. In the letter addressed to CJI, the woman judge sought permission to end her life from the “eldermost guardian” of the system. 

The Hindustan Times quoting persons aware of the developments reported Supreme Court’s Secretary General Atul M. Kurhekar has sought a report from the registrar general of the Allahabad High Court regarding the status of proceedings before the internal complaint committee which is dealing with the plea. 

“The Supreme Court administration, under the direction of the Honourable Chief Justice of India, has taken cognisance of the matter on the administrative side and has sought a report from the registrar general of the Allahabad High Court. After the report is received, appropriate follow-up measures will be taken,” the publication reported quoting sources.

In her letter to the CJI, the civil judge says she is writing to her “eldermost guardian” in “extreme pain and despair”. “In the short time of my service I have had the rare Honour of being abused (the dreaded Hindi mother curse word) on Dias in open court. I have been sexually harassed to the very limit. I have been treated like utter garbage. I feel like an unwanted insect. And I hoped to provide justice to others. What Naive me! I wish to tell all the working women in India: Learn to live with sexual harassment. It’s a truth of our lives (sic)”, the judge wrote in the letter to CJI.

“When I mean no one listens, that includes the Supreme Court. You will get eight seconds of hearing, an insult and a threat to impose costs. You will be pushed to commit suicide. And if you are lucky (unlike me), your first attempt at suicide will be successful. If any of the women think that you will fight against the system, let me tell you, I couldn’t,” the letter reads. 

The victim judge alleged her complaint before ICC was taken up for inquiry only after six months, after sending repeated emails. The judge charged she had asked for the transfer of the district judge during the pendency of the inquiry so that a fair examination of facts would be possible, but, the petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court in just eight seconds.

“I have been rendered to a Walking Corpse in the last year and a half. There is no purpose in carrying this soulless and lifeless body around anymore. There is no purpose left in my life. Kindly permit me to end my life in a dignified way. Let my life be: DISMISSED,” (sic) the judge wrote. 

- With inputs from Puja Awasthi.

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