New Delhi, Sep 18 :
The Delhi High Court Thursday set up a special bench to hear the plea of advocate and former RAW woman officer against appointment of Justice H.L. Dattu as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI), alleging sexual harassment by him.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw said it will constitute a different bench to hear the plea of Nisha Priya Bhatia on Friday after she objected on the composition of the bench, arguing that Justice Endlaw should not hear this case as in 2007-08. he had heard a case of her.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the central government, opposed Bhatia’s contention for change of the bench, saying it was a “move to keep alive the controversy”.
The bench, however, decided to set up a special bench, saying: “We don’t want another controversy so we are constituting another bench.”
The ASG also argued that the petition is frivolous and should not be entertained.
Alleging sexual harassment, the 51-year-old Bhatia sought quashing of the recommendation of the government to the president to appoint Justice Dattu as the CJI.
“Quash recommendations reported to have been made by government – as council of ministers – to the president to appoint Justice H.L. Dattu as the Chief Justice of India,” the plea said.
Bhatia in the plea alleged that she was a law student in 2011 when Justice Dattu began hea ring all her court cases in the Supreme Court, her work place.
“He (Dattu) has since then contributed to her acute and intense sexual harassment even though – under the Vishakha guidelines of the apex court itself – he was obliged to protect her against it, even from the third party,” the plea said.
The plea further said Justice Dattu dismissed all her cases and she had also filed complaints against him with police, the National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women.
Bhatia, a 1987 batch class 1 executive cadre officer in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was compulsorily retired from the service in 2009.