'Allow me to end my life': A woman judge in Uttar Pradesh writes to Chief Justice...Here's what happened!

In an extraordinary event in judiciary where a judge has been pushed to seek justice, a woman judge in the state of Uttar Pradesh has written a heartbreaking letter to the Chief Justice of India, asking the latter's permission to end her life. The event has showcased that the violence against women haunt them at every walk of life as this woman judge said that she has faced abuse and harassment from a district judge. 

The letter has immensely shocked India's judicial arena and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud has intervened in the matter. The woman judge belongs to the Banda district in Uttar Pradesh and in her letter to the CJI, she said she is writing to her eldermost guardian in 'extreme pain and despair'. Penning some startling words, the woman judge said she wished to tell the women in India to learn to live with sexual harassment. 

The letter says, "I joined the judicial service with much enthusiasm and the belief that I would dispense Justice to the common folk. What did I know that I will be soon rendered a beggar for Justice on every door that I go. In the short time of my service, I have had the rare honour of being abused on Dias in open court. I have been sexually harassed to the very limit. I have been treated like utter garbage. I feel like an unwanted insect. And I hoped to provide justice to others. What naive me! I wish to tell all the working women in India: Learn to live with sexual harassment. It's truth of our lives."

In a surprise attack, the woman judge came down heavily on the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment Act 2013, stating that the act is a 'big wholesome lie'. It could the first time that a judge apparently flayed an act that advocates for the protection of women across the country. The woman judge further wrote, "No one listens, no one bothers. If you complaint, you will be tortured. Be submissive. And, when I mean no one listens, that includes the Supreme Court." 

"You will get eight seconds of hearing, an insult and a threat to impose costs. You will be pushed to commit suicide. And if you are lucky (unlike me), your first attempt at suicide will be successful. If any of the women think that you will fight against the system, let me tell you, I couldn't", she added. Revealing the allegations, the woman judge said that a district judge had asked her to meet him at night and though she has moved her complaint to the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court in 2022, no action has been initiated till date. 

Earlier this July, the woman judge has filed a complaint with the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the High Court. She noted her complaints in her letter to the CJI, stating, "It took six months and a thousand emails just to start an enquiry. The proposed enquiry is also a farce and a sham. The witnesses in the enquiry are immediate subordinates of the district judge. How the committee expects the witnesses to depose against their boss is beyond my understanding." 

She also stated that she asked for the transfer of the district judge during the enquiry but her plea to transfer the district judge was dismissed by the Supreme Court in eight seconds. "It is even more surprising that this dismissal happened after the High Court had observed that the judicial aspect of the enquiry was being influenced", she alleges. Reacting to the dismissal of her plea in her letter to the CJI, she wrote, "Just one sentence and dismissed. I felt like my life, my dignity, and my soul have been dismissed." 

"It felt like a personal humiliation. The enquiry will now be conducted with the district judge being in control of all the witnesses. We all know the fate of such an enquiry. What Justice will I give to others when I am myself hopeless? I have no will to live anymore. I have been rendered to a walking corpse in the last year and a half. There is no purpose in carrying this soulless and lifeless body around anymore. There is no purpose left in my life. Kindly permit me to end my life in a dignified way. Let my life be dismissed", the woman judge ends her letter. 

Intervention from the Chief Justice of India 

As the allegations and the letter from the woman judge seeking to end her life made headlines, the event has drawn an intervention from the CJI Chandrachud. On Thursday - December 14, Chandrachud had sought a status report from the Allahabad High Court administration on the status of an enquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment raised by a woman civil judge in Uttar Pradesh's Banda district against a district judge. 

According to reports, Supreme Court's secretary general Atul Kurhekar, based on the instructions from the CJI, wrote to the registrar general of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday evening, asking for the status of the enquiry before the ICC, which is probing the allegations raised by the woman judge. 

Hindustan Times quoted the people in the know saying, "The Supreme Court administration, under the direction of the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, has taken the cognisance of the matter on the administrative side and has sought a report from the registrar general of the Allahabad High Court. After the report is received, appropriate follow-up measures will be taken."