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Supreme Court reinstates woman judicial officer, who quit citing sexual harassment charges against HC judge

The Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated a woman judge of Madhya Pradesh, who resigned in July 2014, alleging sexual harassment by then sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, who has since retired and practices in the Supreme Court as a senior lawyer.

She had moved the Apex Court for reinstatement in 2018.

Setting aside her resignation, a Bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Bhusan R Gavai held that it was not voluntary but tendered under coercion.

The judge was serving as an Additional District and Sessions Judge when she resigned from service, after she was transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi. She had resigned saying that the transfer was malafide and it was resorted to after she had rebuffed the overtures of the High Court judge. She then moved a sexual harassment complaint against the High Court judge.

The Bench, however, clarified that she would not be entitled to back wages. Earlier, the Supreme Court had urged the high court to consider her case on humanitarian grounds. But all the judges in the high court decided unanimously against reinstating her through a full-court decision.

Incidentally, the matter was probed by a parliamentary panel headed by then Supreme Court Judge, Justice R Banumathi. The panel found that the allegations of sexual harassment were not proven. However, it concluded that the transfer of the complainant judge was irregular.

Subsequently, the judge filed the present plea seeking reinstatement.

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