The law student had accused the judge, since retired, of sexually assaulting her last December, when the country was witnessing protests over the December 16 Delhi gang-rape. She claimed that the incident occurred in a hotel room, during her internship under the judge. She first narrated the incident in a blog post for “Journal of Indian Law and Society” on November 6, and later in an interview.
After the attorney general made a submission on the intern’s allegations, the court admitted that “sexual harassment is an extremely serious matter”.
“We are taking steps. We have formed a three-judge committee. We are also anxious if it (allegation) is true or not,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh.
“For my supposed diligence, I was rewarded with sexual assault (not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating) from a man old enough to be my grandfather,” the blog read.
She also justified her silence on the judge’s name. “I bore, and still bear, no real ill will towards the man, and had no desire to put his life’s work and reputation in question. On the other hand, I felt I had a responsibility to ensure that other young girls were not put in a similar situation. But I have been unable to find a solution that allows that. Despite the heated public debates, despite a vast army of feminist vigilantes, despite new criminal laws and sexual harassment laws, I have not found closure,” she wrote.
The allegations could be true or false. But for once I would not have any sympathy for the image of Supreme Court or its judges even if it turned out that the allegations were totally fabricated!
Why? Because the same men who are in these institutions fail to protect the abuse and violations of rights of men. It is like law of karma, sow what you reap. If you do not do an honest job of protecting equally the rights of men as you would of women, then you cannot expect sympathy or justice should you get faced with a similar situation where an allegation can get all the media attention and destroy your life and reputation, but any subsequent acquittal will make a quiet news and by that time people wouldn’t care about the old news.
Here are the reasons why judiciary in general is seen with having anti-men bias:
1. When men who face false cases of IPC 498a, domestic violence, rape etc; they have to undergo long trial before being able to prove acquittal. Now the long time taken in trial may be defended by the logic that all court cases in India run for years. But what is not excusable is the biased mindset which lets the trial drag and gives ample opportunities to the complainants to drag the trial and not appear as witness while the accused men have to run around courts. Also, it has been reported anecdotally that even High Court judges will subtly tell the husband to compromise with wife in 498a case because otherwise his life could become difficult! The pressure put on husbands is that you may need to beg, borrow, or steal but pay maintenance to wife, or pay lumpsum to wife and settle your case yourselves!
2. In domestic violence cases, there is no evidence of any abuse or violence having taken place, but the judges still order interim maintenance and then let the case drag on for years altogether. Their thinking seems to be that they have followed the letter of the law by awarding interim maintenance to the woman, but what about doing actual justice?
3. Sermons have been given in Supreme Court about asking a man to wait for few more months because since he has already waited for 17 years under his divorce case, a few more months won’t make much of a difference!
4. A Delhi High Court judge had put a condition of bail on the man in 498a case that he cannot file any RTI about any matter relating to his wife. So denial of a fundamental right was allowed as condition of the bail.
In the end I feel that if the complaint is true it is a good sign about youth being assertive about protecting their rights and demanding fairness rather than being submissive to the elderly and seniors of Indian society.