Reacting for the first time to the allegation of sexual harassment against him, former Supreme Court judge Swatenter Kumar on Saturday said it was a deep-rooted conspiracy and that "none of the facts are verified."
In a legal notice sent to three media houses which carried reports on the allegation yesterday, Justice Kumar says "The intern story is concocted with ulterior motives... The complaint is false and a result of conspiracy to tarnish the judge reputation."
The legal notice says the young woman lawyer who had made the allegations, had worked with Justice Kumar only for three days, whereas one of the media reports indicated she had worked with him for a month.
Through the legal notice, Justice Kumar has also demanded an apology from the three media houses, saying they would otherwise be sued for defamation.
Last month, in a complaint to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, the young woman lawyer had said that she was sexually harassed on three occasions by a sitting judge at his residence while she was interning with him in May 2011. That judge was Justice Swatenter Kumar, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising yesterday told NDTV. (Read more
In her detailed affidavit to Chief Justice Sathasivam, the lawyer said, "On one occasion, the judge placed his hand on my lower back. I felt quite uncomfortable and disturbed... he asked me if I would be comfortable travelling with him during the internship, and staying in hotel rooms... I felt extremely awkward and uncomfortable."
"On 28 May, 2011 he put his right arm around me and kissed me on my left shoulder... On 29 May, I told him I would not be able to continue my internship."
But the top court reportedly told the young lawyer that it couldn't act against the judge, as he had already retired. A similar stance adopted by the Supreme Court panel during the Justice AK Ganguly case had invited much criticism from activists. But unlike in the latest case, Justice Ganguly was not a sitting judge when he allegedly sexual harassed his intern.
Today, Union Minister Veerappa Moily told NDTV that the charges against Justice Kumar are serious and it is the duty of the judiciary to decide on whether to order an inquiry.
"Whether the offence was committed when he was a Supreme Court judge or now should not matter," Mr Moily said.