Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sexual harassment: HC quashes probe against judge

The probe against a judge accused of sexually harassing a woman lawyer in the courtroom was quashed by the Gujarat high court on the ground of delay in inquiry by other judges.

The judge also got the benefit of the laws and guidelines, which came into force much after the woman advocate complained about the alleged harassment.

Gujarat high court last week quashed the inquiry ordered by the high court's standing committee against senior civil judge Girishkumar Soni into allegations of sexually harassing a woman advocate in Rajkot.

Judge Soni, who is currently a labour court judge in Surendranagar, was posted in Rajkot between January and June 2012. In May 2012, when the Gujarat high court's chief justice visited Rajkot, a woman lawyer approached him and complained against Soni.

On her oral complaint, the chief justice immediately asked Rajkot's principal district judge to send his remarks on the complaint. There was no response and the high court had to remind the Rajkot's district judge, who recorded statements of three woman advocates and forwarded them to the high court in November 2013.

In February 2014, the high court's standing committee decided to conduct an inquiry against the judge's alleged lapse in behaviour. But the charges could not be framed before January 2017. The inquiry began after that.

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