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Sexual harassment at SC: Lawyer barred from entering apex court for 6 months

The Supreme Court's panel on sexual harassment has for the first time banned an advocate from entering the court premises for six months

New Delhi: An advocate has been barred entry into Supreme Court precincts for six months following an inquiry against him in a complaint of sexual harassment in the first order after a committee was formed to look into such complaints in the apex court.

A circular issued by the court Registrar said that an inquiry was conducted against advocate C S Nagesh by the Supreme Court Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) and a report with its recommendations was submitted by its internal committee to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam.

"Having considered the report of GSICC dated March 4, 2014, which unanimously accepted the report of the Internal Sub-Committee dated February 21, 2014, recommending debarring the entry of C S Nagesh, advocate, into the Supreme Court precincts for a specified period extending upto a maximum period of one year and/ or any other orders, as deemed fit, I am of the view that, in the first instance, six months' bar on entry into the Supreme Court precincts would suffice, considering the fact that, except the instant case, no other incident of this nature relating to Nagesh has been reported.

"This penalty, in my view, would not only allow him to redeem himself but also would operate as a deterrent against him," the circular, quoting CJI's March 15 order, said. The inquiry was conducted against the advocate under the Gender Sensitisation & Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations, 2013.

Earlier, on January 31, GSICC in its annual report had said that the committee had received two complaints from two women lawyers since its inception in November 2013.

At that time, the report had not disclosed the names of the alleged offenders.

The report had said that GSICC was constituted on November 26 last year with an object to fulfil an important function of sensitising the public on gender issues and to address complaints made with regard to sexual harassment in the precincts of the Supreme Court.

The CJI had formed GSICC which is headed by the Supreme Court's woman judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, and has six other female members.

There are two members who are outsiders and not connected with the apex court in any manner. The panel is in consonance with the guidelines laid down by apex court in its judgement in the Visakha case for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment at workplace.

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