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As per the reports, Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha has constituted a three-member panel to investigate sexual harassment charges against Justice S K Gangele, a sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. This move comes nearly a month after admitting a motion supported by 58 Rajya Sabha members to impeach the judge. The committee comprises of the following:
|Justice Vikramjit Sen, Judge Supreme Court of India (Chairman)||Justice Manjula Chellur, Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court||KK Venugopal, Senior Advocate|
This committee will now investigate the charges and grounds for removal of Justice Gangele and submit its report to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha which would then be tabled in both the houses of the Parliament.
A statement from the Rajya Sabha read:
The Chairman has, under section 3 of the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, admitted the following Motion received from Shrimati Wansuk Syiem and other Members (total fifty-eight) the notice of which was given under Article 217 read with Article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India
The motion lists three ‘grounds of misconduct’ for impeachment:
- “sexual harassment” of the woman judge;
- “victimization” of the judge “for not submitting to his illegal and immoral demands”, including, but not limited to, transferring her from Gwalior to Sidhi; and
- “misusing” his position as the administrative judge of the MP high court to use the subordinate judiciary to victimize the judge. [Times of India]
DNA reports that the motion was admitted by Ansari following which he wrote to Chief Justice of India H L Dattu to nominate a judge from the Supreme Court and a Chief Justice of a High Court for the probe panel.
Justice Gangele is a serving judge at the principal bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court in Jabalpur. The issue came to light last July when a lady judge resigned days after she was transferred to a remote district. After resigning she wrote to the President, the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court making serious allegations against Justice Gangele.