Supreme Court orders reinstatement of MP judicial officer who alleged sexual harassment by HC judge.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the reinstatement of a Madhya Pradesh woman judicial officer who had resigned from serviceafter her transfer following a complaint of sexual harassment against a High Court judge. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said the resignation of the judicial officer dated July 15, 2014 “cannot be construed to be voluntary” and quashed and set aside the July 17 order accepting the resignation.

It directed that she be reinstated as Additional District and Sessions Judge with effect from July 15, 2014, with all consequential benefits but clarified that she will not be entitled to backwages.

In April 2015, the then Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had set up a committee comprising Supreme Court Judge Justice R Banumathi, Justice Manjula Chellur and Senior Advocate K K Venugopal under the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 to probe the charges levelled by the judicial officer against the HC judge. In its report, the panel cleared the HC judge of the allegations. However, it found the judicial officer’s transfer “unjustified” and recommended that she be reinstated in service if she wished to join back. Subsequently, a Full Court of the High Court rejected the judicial officer’s plea for reinstatement following which she approached the SC.

Thursday, the apex court sought to underline that it had full respect for the Full House of the High Court and that it had not gone into the correctness or otherwise of the Full Court’s decision.

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