Supreme Court to hear plea seeking transfer of defamation suit against woman alleging sexual abuse by former Apex Court judge on Friday
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition on Friday, which sought transfer of a defamation suit filed by a former judge of the Supreme Court against a woman alleging sexual abuse at his hands, from the Delhi High Court.
The Bench led by Justice K.M. Joseph on Friday listed the transfer petition filed by the woman in 2014, for hearing on March 3.
The woman had earlier alleged that she was sexually harassed by a former Supreme Court judge, while she was working as a law intern in the Delhi High Court. The Apex Court judge then filed a defamation suit against the woman. Certain media reporters were also named as defendants in the suit.
Appearing for the former judge, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra said on Friday they were trying to work things out and requested the top court of the country to take up the matter in the coming week.
The Apex Court agreed to the request and listed the matter for hearing on Friday. Advocate Vrinda Grover appeared for the transfer petitioner.
On November 2 last year, the Supreme Court had adjourned the transfer plea by three weeks.
The Senior Advocate appearing for the former Supreme Court Judge had apprised the Bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy that the suit pertained to certain defamatory allegations made against the former judge.
He said the former judge had filed a response to the petition, however, no rejoinder has been filed on the same. Three of the parties said they did not want to file a response. Others have not filed a response, he added.
The Senior Counsel said he did not want to get into the merits of the matter because that would be inappropriate. He added that the issue raised in the transfer petition was no longer relevant as the colleagues of the former judge have retired.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi had termed it a ‘dead issue’. He observed that the former Judge had already crossed 75 years and that the suit, which had not progressed for years, had suddenly come up now.
The woman had raised apprehensions in the transfer petition regarding lack of fair trial in the Delhi High Court by contending that the fellow judges of the plaintiff were holding positions in the judiciary. She sought transfer of the suit to her native city.
On January 9, 2022, the Supreme Court had stayed the suit proceedings while admitting the transfer petition.
The Apex Court had raised a query on whether it was necessary to go ahead with the defamation suit.
While considering the suit, the Delhi High Court had passed a restraint order against the media in relation to reporting of the allegations and the publication of the judge’s photographs.