Kerala HC stays transfer of Sessions Judge

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and C P Mohammed Nias stayed the transfer while considering a plea filed by judge S Krishnakumar challenging a single bench order upholding the order issued by the Registrar of the High Court last month.
Kerala HC stays transfer of Sessions Judge

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday stayed the transfer of a Sessions judge, who made controversial observations in his orders while granting bail to an accused in two sexual harassment cases in Kozhikode district.

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and C P Mohammed Nias stayed the transfer while considering a plea filed by judge S Krishnakumar challenging a single bench order upholding the order issued by the Registrar of the High Court last month.

The court also posted the matter for September 26 for the counter affidavit of the respondents.

"There will be an interim stay, as prayed for, till then", the court said in the order.

Krishnakumar, 59, in his plea before the single bench had said that he was discharging his duty as a Principal District and Sessions Judge, Kozhikode, from June 6, 2022 and his transfer order issued by the Registrar of the High Court was against the transfer norms.

On September 1, the single judge had dismissed his plea saying there was no reason to interfere with the transfer order as the post of Presiding Officer of Labour Court that he has been transferred to was equivalent to that of a District Court Judge.

In his plea challenging the single bench order, Krishnakumar contended that the finding of the court that the transfer norms is only a guideline and it will not confer any right on the transferred employee is clearly against the dictum laid down by the Supreme Court.

The judge in his plea said the single bench ought to have considered the fact that as per norms, a judicial officer can be transferred during the currency of three years, if it is necessary in the interest of administration of justice and it had not held that the transfer of the appellant is in the interest of administration of justice.

Krishnakumar's observations regarding survivors in his two orders on the anticipatory bail pleas moved by accused 'Civic' Chandran, who is also a writer and social activist, in two sexual harassment cases had stirred up a controversy.

While granting bail to Chandran in the case, Krishnakumar, in his order dated August 2, observed that the accused is a reformist, and against the caste system and it is highly unbelievable that he would touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she belongs to the Scheduled Caste (SC).

The judge had also made controversial observations about the dressing of the survivor while granting bail to Chandran in the bail application moved by the latter in another case of sexual harassment against him.

In its August 12 order, the court had observed that the photograph of the complainant, produced by the accused along with the bail application, would explain that she herself dressed in a sexually provocative manner and it is impossible to believe that a man aged 74 and physically disabled would ever do the offence.

The Kerala government has moved the High Court seeking to set aside the sessions court orders granting bail to Civic' Chandran in both cases.

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