Women lawyers seek reconstitution of panel on intern

New Delhi: Women lawyers practising in the Supreme Court have urged Chief Justice P Sathasivam to reconstitute the recently-formed committee by him to go into the allegations of a law intern that she was sexually harassed by a judge, who said to have retired recently.

Women lawyers, including Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, said the committee set up on Nov 12 by the apex court should be in accordance with the Vishakha judgement, whose guidelines require that the panel should be presided by a woman and at least two-third of its members should be women.

"The women lawyers of the Supreme Court resolve and call upon the Chief Justice of India to reconstitute the Committee set up on November 12, 2013 in accordance with the Vishakha judgement.

"We believe that sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013 read with the Vishakha Guidelines are also applicable to the Supreme Court of India," they said.

"It is necessary that an external member is included in the Committee. This Constitution will be in consonance with the Viskakha Guidelines framed by the Supreme Court," they added.

The committee constituted by the CJI comprises three judges–Justices R M Lodha, H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai.

The CJI had said that the committee will go into the whole affair and find out the facts and prepare the report and it had started its work from November 12 itself.

The woman intern today appeared and recorded her statement, which went on for two hours, before the three-judge committee set up to probe the charge.

The allegation of sexual assault hit the Supreme Court when a young woman intern accused a sitting judge, who retired recently, of having misbehaved with her in a hotel room last December when the nation was grappling with the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman in the capital.