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A sitting Madhya Pradesh High Court judge has approached the Supreme Court alleging procedural irregularities on the part of the three-member Judicial Inquiry Committee (Committee) set up by Vice President Hamid Ansari to probe into charges of sexual harassment levelled against him.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra mentioned the matter today before Chief Justice JS Khehar, who agreed to list the case tomorrow.
The sitting judge has approached the Supreme Court contending that the Committee has exceeded its procedural limits by allowing wide latitude to the complainant.
A few years back, a former Additional District and Sessions Judge at Gwalior had made allegations of sexual harassment against the judge. She had moved the Supreme Court in 2014 seeking an inquiry into her allegations.
The Supreme Court had formed a 3-judge panel headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and comprising Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and the Rajasthan High Court’s Justice Ajay Rastogi. This panel had concluded that there was no sufficient evidence to find the accused judge guilty, thereby bringing an end to the litigation in Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Vice President Hamid Ansari had already initiated an impeachment motion against the judge based on a petition by 58 Members of Parliament.
Ansari had constituted a three-member committee to probe into the charges. The committee initially comprised of Justice Vikramajit Sen, Justice Manjula Chellur and Senior Advocate KK Venugopal. After Justice Sen’s retirement from the Supreme Court, Justice Ranjan Gogoi had replaced him. But Justice Gogoi had recused himself from the panel, and Justice Rohinton Nariman had come to head the committee. Subsequently, the Committee was re-constituted yet again and Justice R Banumathi is now heading the committee.
This committee has been probing the charges against the judge.
The case is listed for hearing today as item 60 in court 4.
Update: Justice Ranjan Gogoi recused from the case since he had earlier recused from the Judicial Inquiry Committee.