In 2014, a law intern moved the Supreme Court, accusing then National Green Tribunal chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar of sexually harassing her. She alleged that the incident happened when Justice Kumar was still a sitting judge of the apex court. The law intern’s petition was heard by a bench comprising then Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh.
Coming at a time when the top court was already embarrassed by a similar allegation levelled against its former judge, Justice A.K. Ganguly, CJI Sathasivam and his puisne judges on the bench rued the absence of a mechanism to deal with cases of sexual harassment against sitting judges. The bench set up a panel comprising senior advocates Fali Nariman and P.P. Rao to recommend regulations for addressing such incidents. Nariman and Rao had later recommended that the CJI must appoint a panel of sitting apex court judges to probe allegations of sexual misconduct made against any brother judge. They held that “no matter how high the judges are, they are definitely not to be treated as immune from charges of sexual harassment of women at workplace”.