NEW DELHI: Supreme Court today issued notice to its former judge and the current Chairman of National Green Tribunal Swatanter Kumar on a plea filed by an intern, who had levelled sexual harassment allegations against him, seeking transfer of his defamation suit against her from Delhi High Court.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha asked Swatanter Kumar to respond within four weeks on the intern's plea who expressed apprehensions of not getting justice in Delhi citing the "influence" and high position enjoyed by Kumar in the bar and bench.
Referring to Swatanter Kumar's tenure as a judge in the Delhi High Court, senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the intern, submitted that when a judge becomes litigant in the same court, the matter must be heard in another court.
Jaising submitted the matter be heard in the Karnataka High Court as the intern resides there.
The bench after hearing her contentions said, "We will have to go by the likelihood of the girl's apprehensions. Not only must Justice be done, it must also be seen to be done."
The bench then asked senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Kumar, to file response within four weeks.
It refused to pass any interim order regarding high court proceedings after Venugopal told the bench that he will seek adjournment in the case (before HC) in view of the transfer petition of the intern pending in the Supreme Court.
Justice Kumar, in his reply to the allegations leveled by the intern, had earlier said the charges against him were part of a malicious conspiracy intended to damage his reputation.
A defamation suit was filed by Justice Swatanter Kumar in the Delhi High Court against the woman intern and some media houses for allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
Justice Kumar had also demanded Rs five crore as damages from the woman lawyer and three media groups that publicized her complaint.
The high court had on March 22, said some media houses "deliberately" published and telecast allegations against Kumar despite its order barring the same.
The High Court had also warned that if it felt the court's order was not being complied with appropriate action would be taken against those responsible.