Justice Swatanter Kumar moves HC seeking to restrain media

The accused SC judge also claims Rs five crore as damages from two English news channels.

New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge and National Green Tribunal Chairperson Swatanter Kumar today moved the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain the media from reporting the alleged sexual assault case of his former woman law intern.

Justice Kumar has also sought a whopping Rs five crore as damages from two English news channels and a leading English daily for defaming him in the case. A battery of senior lawyers, including Maninder Singh and N K Kaul, mentioned the civil suit before Justice G S Sistani at 10.30 AM and sought an urgent hearing of the petition.

Justice Sistani, who is in-charge judge of civil suits filed in the high court, ordered hearing of the petition today itself. "Besides seeking damages, Justice Kumar has also sought an injunction to the reportage in the case," senior advocate Maninder Singh told PTI.

According to the intern, the alleged harassment took place in May 2012 when he was a sitting judge of the apex court. The woman law intern has given an affidavit to the Supreme Court alleging on one occasion Justice Kumar had placed his hand on her lower back when she was stepping out of his office room. "I felt quite uncomfortable and disturbed but I brushed it aside," she has said.

Subsequently, on another occasion when she went to the judge's room to apologise for a mistake she had committed, he told her not to worry and asked her to come over to his side of the desk.

"When I did, he put his right arm around me and kissed me on my left shoulder. I was quite taken aback and shocked, and I excused myself and hurriedly left his room," the intern has alleged in her affidavit against Justice Kumar.

Meanwhile, a separate hearing is going on in the Supreme Court on the plea of the former intern seeking inquiry against Justice Kumar.

The apex court today issued notice to the Centre on the intern's plea in which she has also sought setting up of permanent mechanism in judicial bodies to address complaints of sexual harassment at workplace.

Justice Kumar had on January 11 sent a legal notice to a national daily and two news channels demanding an apology from them within 24 hours for publicising "incredulous and false" allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by the law intern.

He had said in the legal notice that in the event of the three media organisations not complying, he would be compelled to initiate "appropriate proceedings" against them.

( Source : PTI )
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