by Stella James

Sometimes the most difficult things to write about are also the most essential. I feel this is especially true when many people, much more scholarly than oneself, have already said and written a lot around the issue, and yet your own experience does not seem to fit into the wide net that they’ve cast. Gandhi once said “I have something far more powerful than arguments, namely, experience”. And it is from these words that I derive what I consider the ‘value’ of this piece – not my experience per se, but from what I feel that my experience can tell us about much discussed issues in the country today.

Tenniel_red_queen_with_aliceLast December was momentous for the feminist movement in the country – almost an entire population seemed to rise up spontaneously against the violence on women, and the injustices of a seemingly apathetic government. In the strange irony of situations that our world is replete with, the protests were the backdrop of my own experience. In Delhi at that time, interning during the winter vacations of my final year in University, I dodged police barricades and fatigue to go to the assistance of a highly reputed, recently retired Supreme Court judge whom I was working under during my penultimate semester. For my supposed diligence, I was rewarded with sexual assault (not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating) from a man old enough to be my grandfather. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that long after I’d left the room, the memory remained, in fact, still remains, with me.

So what bothered me about this incident? As a conditioned member of the society, I had quickly “gotten over” the incident. But was that what worried me: that I had accepted what was essentially an ‘unacceptable’ situation. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the crux of my unease lay in my inability to find a frame in which to talk, or even think, about my experience. While the incident affected me deeply, I felt little anger and almost no rancour towards the man; instead I was shocked and hurt that someone I respected so much would do something like this. My strongest reaction really, was overwhelming sadness. But this sort of response was new to me. That I could understand his actions and forgive him for them, or that I could continue to think of him as an essentially ‘good’ person, seemed a naïve position that were completely at odds with what I had come to accept was the “right” reaction to such incidents.

This emotional response was also completely at odds with the powerful feelings of righteous anger that the protestors in Delhi displayed. I am not trying to say that anger at the violence that women face is not a just or true response, but the polarization of women’s rights debates in India along with their intense emotionality, left me feeling that my only options were to either strongly condemn the judge or to betray my feminist principles. Perhaps this confusion came out of an inadequate understanding of feminist literature, but if so, isn’t then my skewed perception a failing of feminism itself? If the shared experiences of women cannot be easily understood through a feminist lens, then clearly there is a cognitive vacuum that feminism fails to fill. Feminists talk of the guilt a woman faces when sexually harassed, like it is her fault. I felt a similar guilt, except, my guilt wasn’t at being assaulted, but at not reacting more strongly than I did. The very perspective that was meant to help me make sense of my experiences as a woman was the one that obscured the resolution of the problem in my own mind, presumably an effect that feminism does not desire. And if not a result of feminist theory itself, the form that it has taken in India, especially after recent incidents of sexual assault, strengthened the feeling of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” in a fight that I feel I can no longer take sides in.

All the talk during that time was of stricter punishment, of baying for the blood of “creepy” men. Five years of law school had taught me to look to the law for all solutions – even where I knew that the law was hopelessly inadequate – and my reluctance to wage a legal battle against the judge left me feeling cowardly. On reflection though, I cannot help but wonder why I should have felt that way. As mentioned earlier, I bore, and still bear, no real ill-will towards the man, and had no desire to put his life’s work and reputation in question. On the other hand, I felt I had a responsibility to ensure that other young girls were not put in a similar situation. But I have been unable to find a solution that allows that. Despite the heated public debates, despite a vast army of feminist vigilantes, despite new criminal laws and sexual harassment laws, I have not found closure. The lack of such an alternative led to my facing a crippling sense of intellectual and moral helplessness.

The incident is now a while behind me, and they say time heals all wounds. But during the most difficult emotional times, what helped me most was the ‘insensitivity’ of a close friend whose light-hearted mocking allowed me to laugh at an incident (and a man) that had caused me so much pain. Allowing myself to feel more than just anger at a man who violated me, something that I had never done before, is liberating! So, I want to ask you to think of one thing alone – when dealing with sexual violence, can we allow ourselves to embrace feelings beyond or besides anger, and to accept the complexity of emotions that we face when dealing with any traumatic experience?

Image courtesy: here.

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Through my Looking Glass

  1. What happened with you was pathetic and that you were not able to respond to that was also unfortunate. But you escaped the situation was also one right thing you did. The question you posed in the last is not easily answerable as you have put the two distinct situations to choose from. Such instances are common if you are working and not specifically connected with females but males also, however, the situations vary and the irony occurs when a lawyer fail to defend his own interest or a doctor unable cure himself and so on…

  2. It is a good piece of expression. I personally feel each of us have to stand strong on all kind of situations and also need to provide support for others in time of need and a massive awareness also requires in these issues.

  3. This menace will one day come to an end, I am sure. I am shocked as well as angry that something like this can happen by someone who holds such a responsible post. I am not sorry for you, because you are so strong that you don’t need sympathies, rather I am proud that you are so mature and wise. You wrote about this incident and one day you will get justice the natural way, like what do we lawyers say “rule of natural justice”, it has a different interpretation for me. My dear, you will go a long way and teach this grandpa a lesson when the right time comes. Or maybe you will not have to do anything about it, you will simply see his ruins. All the best and don’t allow this incident to consume any further energy of yours.

  4. it is really unfortunate to see an act of vulgarity being replicated by the very own people who are supposedly the protectors of law and are meant to impart justice because they are educated and have the common sense of understanding what are the plight of the people. not only is this horrendous but also leaves us thinking about how the justice system works in our country. u may not be the first one in fact, and not only could he have done this previously and got away with it which is why he would have felt the pleasure to repeat it but also he could have derived sexual favours during his whole career as a judge. who knows how many other girls he would molested and threatened them all by his post as a SC judge. why???? because he is the one person who solely can give the judgement and unfortunately all is fair in love war. and in court we are at war. people coming to him seeking favours would have felt the brunt of his perversions. i think taking a strong stand against this offender would not only have brought his corruption to light but also made the stance of feminism very clear that you cannot take a lady for granted. that their modest should not be outraged. very frankly speaking i think you should have given him the strongest blow to his manhood leaving him to judge whether he would ever be called man enough!!!
    i respect your courage for sharing this incident with us and making us aware of what the situation is around us.

  5. Thank you for sharing Stella…I had a similar experience leaving me with similar feelings that left me quite stunned at myself initially. It does give a lot of comfort to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way when everything else I’d heard of and read before that incident led me to believe I would’ve or should’ve acted differently. I couldn’t have expressed it as clearly and in the balanced way that you did. Thank you.

    1. Hi Priya,
      It took a lot of thinking for me to get to this point. I actually think I was making myself angry because it is the expected reaction. But when I wrote this piece I forced myself to be honest with myself. And I realized that it doesn’t matter what others say, whether they have experienced something similar or not. I wrote it because I realized that NO ONE has the right to take away my agency. I am the only one that can decide how to react to a situation of sexual harassment, and nobody (feminist or not, but especially feminists) has the right to tell me what to think or how to feel about the situation.

      1. Dear Stella,
        Nobody can deny u the right to feel the way u want to.
        But remember if that a not being stood upto emboldened the person to take one step further next time would u be able to meet your own eyes whenever u looked in a mirror

      2. This was a really interesting read, and you’re right, Feminism doesn’t talk about an alternate way to address the situation. When what you’re feeling is shock, hurt and sadness… Do you think maybe talking to the judge might have helped get you some closure? Since he’s someone you respect, and you’re feeling a sense of betrayal… I can’t possibly imagine how a perpetrator will react to a conversation about their “bad behaviour” but I wonder if that’s a method that will yield any sort of positive result.

      3. “Gandhi once said “I have something far more powerful than arguments, namely, experience”. And it is from these words that I derive what I consider the ‘value’ of this piece – not my experience per se, but from what I feel that my experience can tell us about much discussed issues in the country today.”

        I guess your association with the Natural Justice helped put the ugly experience behind you and yet it will remain as only the much discussed issue in the country today. When you write about your experience and also reserve the right to “think or how to feel about the situation,” I just fail to see the “value” in it.

      4. Sexual Harassment is not a personal issue, its a social issue. Any woman’s response to it should be such that it can get eradicated from society. Silence definitely is not its solution.

  6. This is shocking to say the least, if an educated person (that too in law) like you let go of a person who harassed you, what should we expect from girls and women who have no voice, no chance to speak. You must speak up and reveal his name. And why are you bothered about his reputation & career any way.

    Ask for a public apology and admission of guilt like the way Sweta Menon did recently.

    1. U R Right Rakesh. She should have taken action spontaneously. If professional lawyers cannot bring to book such people what about common people !!

    2. I agree with Rakesh. Just because you left unhurt and are able to put the incidence apart will not do any good. The wrongdoing person’s morale shall be boosted to indulge in such activities again unless you tell the truth in open.

    3. Being “an educated person (that too in law): has NOTHING to do with this person’s indecency. An incivil person, regardless of socioeconomic status, will resort to such behaviour when an opportunity arises.

      However, one has to be careful in baying for blood and in naming the person. As this reader understands, an investigation is underway. Though there is always the possibility of a cover-up, one should at least wait until it is completed and report published. In a CIVIL society (mentioned by this reader elsewhere in this forum), a person MUST be judged innocent until proven guilty.

    4. I don’t believe that is correct. Firstly, she is the one who went through this, we haven’t. Not being in the situation ourselves, I feel it is not right to assume that a particular reaction is what should have taken place. We cannot control anyone’s emotions, nor can we force them into doing anything. It is simply not ethical and everyone has a right to think on their own and do what they feel is right. I can see your point and I too, do believe that when one is oppressed, one must try to the best of one’s ability to speak up. But did Miss James say she felt oppressed? To the best of my knowledge, she very clearly said that she forgave the man and did not wish to expose him. She mentioned no feelings of fear and loss of security as the reason why she chose not to expose him. So your argument of one of the more empowered women of India feeling too scared to act is baseless. She also stated that were she to reveal her identity, there would be no proof of her having said the truth. There were no witnesses and the other victims were too scared to support her claims. All you are saying is that she should demand a pubic apology. But what if he refuses? Then what? He can certainly not be compelled into apologizing because there is no definite proof. Should she demand an apology from the person, I would greatly admire her for her courage and would encourage her from all my heart. However, as long as she choses not to, I think we all must respect her choice as, not being in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same things weighing on our minds, we cannot judge or try to analyse her reasons for her actions.

      1. 1. She has said, she has not got a sense of closure so far. So just telling oneself that I have forgotten is clearly not working.
        2. Why has she written this blog in first place if she had forgiven and forgotten?
        3. I have not studied law, I dont know law, but someone who has, shouldn’t they be using their knowledge first to defend themselves, how can she say it their word against us? Really? Is it how law works?
        4. What moral right she will have tomorrow to stand for a girl who comes to her with a similar complain? She will ask the girl to forgive and forget?

  7. Satyamev Jayate – The Truth Always Wins….

    At the end of the day the person exploited the situation and violated your feelings and privacy …if you feel you should accept this and not report the person you are yourself violating your own self…

    Yes the bigger fear how would the society interpret or react if you came out in open… and support you or not ? I guess by stopping these kind of people you are doing a bigger good to all the other women who stand to be exploited in these situations not only in your industry but else where as well….lot of women are denied promotions and a better professional career growth as because they have refused sexual advances ….

    This person is no better than a rapist or a molester ( as in case of the Delhi Bus case or the Mumbai Mill case ) except that he is educated and comes from a influential background…and hence you might have a biased feeling but an offender is equal under the eyes of the law….

    So be brave expose the person… there will be many who will stand by you and many against ( those who are for this exploitation …) but this must be exposed for the betterment of the society and for your own personal good…..

  8. Please dont feel alone! you cant just sit and let the culprit go. You have to be strong and we all are with you. Please name the Retd. Judge and lodge a formal complaint. Your identity can be kept secret if you want when you register the complaint. Also, try to understand all the people who look very respectable and ideal are most of the time not so ideal. They look for an opportunity to fool others for their personal motives. If you need any legal help please feel free to contact me and my law firm.

  9. Justice means not compromising with the corrupt, lavishly powerful and successful person, whether male or female, on the righteous things. It is not only females who bore harassment in work places, but struggling males do find more harsh situations, where they made their spouses to present them to their employers, seniors or other bahubalies. I have learnt and seen the solution in the way, Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi did, when he faced such situation. When he was thrown out from the first class compartment of the conveying train in South Africa, HE, though represented from weaker & exploited society of India, did.
    Even in the society, when I feel such exploitation in the name of race, caste, place of birth or residence; I also behave in the same manner. Stop working instanteously with them, left those person in the “manjhdhar” situation. And It is fact that keeping “asahayog aandolan” don’t make you poor.
    Feeling yourself that you are not alone, who is just escaping from the situation. Decide yourself, compromise or live with dignity.

  10. I don’t understand why women like you, who is educated in law not able to protect or protest? then what happens to those poor women who are illiterate? Think it again.
    Just putting your experience in paper is not sufficient. if you think that the person was wrong and had done wrong with others then who should have complained according to the law. If you are forgiving and don’t want to put his work or reputation on stake then I am sorry in my opinion you are equally responsible. You are giving chance to such highly powerful people to exploit others.
    Think about it your complaint might have change the law of the nation for such sexual harassment.

    Let me give you an incident. I went to tirupati for darshan. there was huge queue and there were guys who were taking advantage of the situation. But no women were complaining they were feeling awkward but quite which was actually encouraging those guys to harass them.

    I would like to know who is responsible here? why women expect others to protect them? thnik it .

    1. Gaurav,

      Its a collective responsibility. You should have acted when you see something of that sort happens. To expect the victim to stand up and fight is fine. But you should also have taken a stand and send the message to the people there that such crap will not be tolerated. If you did act in the incident you mentioned, hats-off to you.

      I dont know if would stand up and confront them in such a situation you mentioned but still i would say its not the responsibility of the victim alone in the case you mentioned. Every one who was a witness there is equally culpable for not acting “which was actually encouraging those guys to harass them”.

      I will muster courage to standup if i confront such a situation in future.

      1. I agree. But I was commenting on Stella blog. The situation which she mentioned is between two people in closed door. If she doesn’t have guts to shout then how come other will know that there is a man with criminal mentality? That too for a girl who is educated in law .

        With due respect to her, I want to know, lets assume one more thing, that the same man has promised something in favor of what he has done and she might have accepted at that moment with resistance than why after getting the favor she is complaining? Here I am not justifying the act of the judge, In my opinion he should be severely punished. But how long women will keep on giving excuses that they were helpless , powerless and so on. Where is the demand of equality from them?

        She is a victim but Judge from both perspective.

        I want to quote here swami vivekananda “The greatest sin is to think that you are weak. No one is greater”

  11. Taking the claim at face value,without bias,prejudice or malice ,the lady should have sensing immediately something amiss,under some excuse, pretext or another left the room,used her cell phone or walked out. Something about having 5 years experience, and doing her last internship, thus she had good knowledge of facts, and defence. Without prejudice ,to her claims Sometimes ladies also may falsely claim all sorts of accusations,for spite,I’ll motivation,disgruntled over views or judgements etc., and other factors etc., which need not be gospel truth. The gret majority of judges do confirm to decorum of code behaviour. Many are polite,courteous or jovial to ladies,which should not be misconstrued .The lady should do away with remorse and fight for ladies genuinely in trouble as a tribute to her claims,

    1. So you find fault of the lady for not doing something even when you take the claim at the face value but not an iota of sympathy for her?

    2. It is easy to comfortably sit in an AC room and speculate what a lady should have done .Men never get it that once this kind of situation happens and a girl feels insecure it is very difficult to think logically and judge pros and cons at that point of time,whatever her social status or upbringing.
      Please understand her state of mind before giving such politically correct views.

  12. I entirely support Ms.Stella and appreciate that she has taken a stand which is bold and thoughtful in many ways.I only wish that one day you meet you tormentor in public place and you would be seeing a man on his knees begging for forgiveness.You should pusue a line where in your Tormentor on his own say sorry to you and owns the misdemeanor he indulged with you. God Bless you

  13. Thanks for coming out. Better late than never. Sorry to note abt the incident. Your article is very well written and more importantly with good intentions.

  14. Hi Stella,
    I am so disturbed and depressed after reading your story. If this is situation of a person like you who is herself form the field of law what about other girls? I am father of two little angels and worried a lot about their future, I am working day n night for their financial safety but what about their safety when they will grow up and go in this cruel society? Its so disturbing….

  15. Stella, I am happy you have been so honest about your feelings. Actually one goes through a variety of emotions when such a thing happens and anger is one of them. Very often there is an immense sadness that is more debilitating. That many of us have found a way to share such feelings is the positive aspect of feminism.

  16. My salute to this young lady who has taught me to delve into and try to understand the complex emotional upheavel that a woman can go through when faced with depravity from somebody she has looked up to and the gumption required to face the truth. Her supreme maturity in analysing and understanding her own emotions is commendable. Her innate goodness comes through when she looks at the incident spiritually with the sole intention of opening our minds to such incidents which could occur repeatedly on a day to day basis upon so many ladies or maybe also men. I strongly condemn the action of the superior and fatally hope that the superior accepts his action and takes off his mask himself.

  17. Sure this write up is the First step.. please follow up on the rest of the steps so others who are silent and suffering know justice is not given but got!!…

  18. Today this is the headlines news in all the news channels. even Supreme court has taken notice.
    Now cat has to be out of the bag. Who is this retired Supreme Court judge?
    Most probably in two three weeks time, it will be again a headlines news.

  19. I understand your feeling and this is a deep rooted issues in the society. It cannot be cured by punishing guilty in a few cases although they should be punished.

    My thoughts below:

    That laws alone can curb such crimes which often go unreported is a false perception.
    There has to be a change in the way people perceive women and this has to start from childhood.

    When a boy is growing up, even though he may inherently not have the intent to indulge such acts he may be influenced by the people around him and may display such behavior in a group and later he may get a sense that its not wrong.

    Perhaps the our School cariculam should be amended to include content which increases sensitivity towards women and perhaps to show the trauma involved with incidents of this nature so they can empathise and may not indulge in such acts. I dont know how best this can be implemented but i believe there should be a debate on this.

  20. We must appreciate the lady for her free thinking and frank expression of her feelings. Her response shows maturity. A Man or a Woman, irrespective of his/her education and status, has animal instincts which can be controlled by Sanskars. These days several cases of molestation of daughters, sisters, grand-daughters by their father/grandfather/brothers/guardians/close relatives are being reported in the press. In the case of this lady it was somebody else’s grandpa. In the past our society tried to avoid such incidents following certain norms like avoiding situations where a male and a female would be exclusively in the company of each other. Moving in groups was the norm for the girls. In today’s society such things are outdated and sacrilegious. We have to evolve new norms of behavior to safeguard women, especially working women.

    The other thing I found curious was that the incident took place in a Hotel Room. Why a siting Judge of the Supreme Court of India went to a Hotel for Judicial Work is also a moot question or is it a norm these days?

  21. You may not be the first victim of this SC judge nor you will be the last.You have thought good for you is what you have done but this will not be good in the long run for his next victims.If you had exposed him then his further victims might have been saved

  22. its good u have come out and bought this to light .hopefully justice is served to u and all those women who have been and is going through the same. support is what u need . and we are there 4 u .

  23. its nice that you have courage, though belatedly, to share your experience of the high profile unnamed person. its a fact that you could not have gone against such a powerful person at that time. But today you must expose such person so that this should be an example for such type of persons in future. May God Bless You!!!

  24. I am myself a retired person and deeply anguished at the incident. I feel that the person should not be allowed to go scot free. Normally, we can expect such highly placed person to have some conscience, but in this case, it does not appear to be so. The incident should haunt him during his entire life and not you. I strongly feel that such a person should be ripped open in the public so that he spends his remaining life in his shell and should not be able to interact with the society. You have been bold enough to bring the matter in public domain and should bring the name of the person also like this. God be with you.

  25. we are in the transition phase of powerful society to utilitarian society. male community are used to think like muscle perspective(power ego). feminine thoughts indirectly helps power based thinking .it ,ll never help to make an utilitarian society. we should treat all these matters as conflict between strong and weak in terms of power politics. As long as any kind of power based society would run ,similar torture ,ll be continued .no matter with females ,child,servants,farmers,wives.
    our family as well as society used to behave like power terminology. courts also work on the basis of same terms.Rights ,Revenge are different words of power orientation .it,ll never give any solution. because it never treats with feelings .same your male friend ,judge and their mindset was doing .all these people are living in the same world .
    so i think not only male community ,but whole society should be transformed in such world where no fear exists ,no complex exists . i congratulate you ,you tried to think in this line .but you need to go miles ahead. as a law students ,i am looking that your are not rationalizing the rationals and reasons . intellects are just trying to look into one aspects of logic and get themselves satisfied with great feeling of women empowerment.which again classifies power domain.

  26. The inherent mission of a lawyer is to imbibe oneself with the knowledge of law without knowing which side of the “truth” one would ultimately be called on to argue for. In such a situation the saving grace is to take solace from the fact that good people sometimes do very terrible things and vile people sometimes do very good things.

    The same “dose” of blindfolded punishment may be an irritation for some but lethal for others. Upon such introspection justice becomes subjective for the seeker. I see your point.

  27. This incident gives a proof that Asaram wannabes can be found in all professions and no matter how much esteemed position they enjoy in the society it simply does not matter to them.They just feel they can roam scot-free because no would dare to stand against their ill deeds.If the girl of Asaram case had chosen not to speak than God knows how many more girls would had fallen prey.So I urge the writer of the blog to come forward and name the person concerned and get him punished .

  28. I read in the papers today that an EX-SC judge had sexually harassed a law intern – though horribly insensitive of me, I don’t remember registering any feelings worth writing about. Then during idle net surfing to wile away some more time at work, I read the caption in legally India that the CJI had constituted a committee to investigate this incident. I idly clicked on the link to your blog expecting a rendition on how you were violated and your anger at the violator and the system and how you felt repressed which is why you could not protest earlier. But I was quite surprised (and I won’t say unpleasantly because your reflections are refreshing and resonate somewhere) by the content of your post. I am only curious to know did you anticipate the reaction it has brought about? I can see the ‘value’ that you see. But do you think that the debate that your post has generated has taken note of the ‘value’? I would not like you to think however that I, in any manner discount any of the emotions that you felt and now feel. I understand them completely. Nor would I try to judge you or sermonise on what you ought to have done.

  29. Respect your courage, I can’t say what would be justice in such an event. It’s just a very deep dent which probably a strong person can still manage better unlike many others in the country being subjected to groping, abuse and don’t know what. Just looking at the positive side of things, pardon my saying so, I just wish you are strong and supported enough to take this to the level where it sets some sort of change in reactions of such perpetrators. God bless you, we are with you.

  30. Hats off to you. Who will judge the judges. you have correctly mentioned in your blog that Indian law is very weak and non existent, when it comes to deal with crime committed by sitting judge(s). I know now you will forced by many external forces (including women organisation) to withdraw your accusations, I wish god give you more courage and strength to deal with all the external forces. Keep raising your voice, as you know, not speaking about a crime means you are also complicit in the crime.

  31. A layman can guess the name of the culprit. You have left sufficient clue to trace that.
    Hats off to you dear for disclosing the fact, but this journey remains incomplete unless you file a Zero FIR against the culprit. Please dont let him escape…….

  32. Stella,
    It is not just sexual harassment…. any major issue that this nation faces has the same problem…………..extreme views of people.
    Even people like me (with half a brain) find it impossible to take sides…. I can imagine the conflict in the minds of intellectuals like you.
    Whatever the outcome of the steps that you have now taken…… don’t let it demotivate you……. keep writing and sharing your thoughts…. you are one in a billion (both in terms of writing talent and in terms of your views)….. you can be a guide to a lot of young people …….a candle in the wind.

  33. Will someone please try to understand the dilemma of Ms James, instead of blurting out their own authoritarian views on how best to deal the larger issue of harassment. James, you have written one hell of a piece, describing your mental state so lucidly without going into the staid legality or platitudinous morality. A sensitive soul goes through a range of emotion when it meets unexpected violence; this violation can happen at a public place, home, or office… by a stranger or one’s own. This sticky feeling of being violated, coupled with breach of deep trust, can wreck one’s nerves. I seriously salute your mode of response to this violence. And I hope you are feeling lighter.

    1. A really sensible point of view, Pankaj – I was meaning to write something exactly like what you have explained. Your phrase “staid legality or platitudinous morality” captures it all. Everyone is yelling hoarse on the “what should Stella do” bandwagon without listening to what she has already done.
      Stella, you are plainly and simply saying that “you feel no rancor towards the man”, so nobody has a right to tell you that you SHOULD indeed HATE that man. Now that the media has come in, they will compete to polarize the debate into a shrill cacophony and tear your original version to shreds. No finer nuances permissible here, only vehemently argued positions! God save our sensibilities which are being bludgeoned into black and white – no shades of grey can be allowed to exist!


    Dear Stella:

    1. You should have asked for a private apology.
    (If it brought closure and if it would satisfy you.)

    2. If the above was inadequate, you should have asked for a public apology.
    (If it brought closure and if it would satisfy you.)

    3. If the above was inadequate, you should have named the person,
    and equally petitioned social conscience and the custodians of law.
    The twin dynamics and parallel effects of shame and punishment
    would deliver justice.

    At no graduated stage and option, would you have acted with vengeance or vendetta.
    Instead, by ennunciating the nature of violation, but not naming the violator,
    you have exercised none of the above three steps.


    1. Debdoot Sanyal:

      What Stella has undertaken is an extremely courageous action. No one – but NO ONE – can question her specific actions or lack thereof, if any. They are based on her rationale and her rationale ONLY. In this specific and extremely unpleasant event, no one else but she and only she experienced it.

      NEITHER can one question her rationale.

  35. I can empathasise and feel the lonely battle within yourself that u faced to put this incident behind.But, i also feel that the very intellect and training that we undergo in achieving professional expertise and which helps us to ” understand” is also impairing action and making us really helpless leading to a wodehousian dilemna of what do u really do if something grotesque suddenly raises its ugly head and barges in . Wishing you all the very best and much better memories and strength to put this incident truly behind and look to a much better and brighter tomorrow.
    With best wishes

  36. These days it seems men, dont have any respect for for women. If such super-educated person can do such acts, what can we expect from others. I think in todays time, a girl or a woman should take care of herself, and stay safe. Its very difficult to trust anyone. 🙁

  37. As a father of two girls, this reader finds this narrative particularly compelling. Also, and having left India some 44 years ago and living in a country with advanced economy, people like myself have a unique perspective to why – irrespective of whatever advances India has made – women in general are still not respected enough there.

    To this reader, the root cause is a terrible lack of CIVILITY in Indian society, particularly when compared to countries with advanced economies. My relatives and friends in India are up in arms when I mention this. However and arguably, this leads to another conclusion. Indians in general do not accept responsibility. One has to first acknowledge the existence of a problem, BEFORE one can tackle it to resolve a problem. It seems that Indians typically are reluctant to accept societal blame when such blame is indeed due.

    Of course all such problems happen in other countries. Some do better than others. Some do worse. Based on personal and anecdotal experience – having traveled in twenty odd countries – India seems to be among the ones who do worse. It is a matter of degree.

    What can be done about it, in a country as large and as complex as India? The younger children MUST be taught to be CIVIL – in ALL aspects of their lives. It is that simple and that difficult. The growth of a civil society comes mostly from younger generations.

    However, the very first action that ALL adult Indians MUST also perform is to ACCEPT that there is indeed a high degree of incivility in India. Or else NOTHING will matter or happen.

    Lastly, but not the least, this article is extremely well written. Sorry, but British Council has also concluded that the standard of English in India has declined gradually over many years, notwithstanding the existence of many world-class Indian authors who write in English. This article should be used in English classes as an excellent example of good diction and expression.

  38. It is a good thing that you shared this publicly … definitely this society and law have failed to protect the dignity of women but you have definitely succeeded in protecting other girls who could have been his next victims …

  39. I do not have all the answers so this comment may seem incomplete. Perhaps, I am writing nothing new. Hope it helps. It appears, there was not enough satisfaction then or now with the actions taken after the incident. And these actions were driven by emotions – anger would possibly have led the kind of actions and expectations that was in the air at that time – emotions/ feelings other than anger led to a space which you are trying to understand as it seems unlabelled as of now. On the path I am, the linkages from event to emotion/ feeling to decision/action do not seem that intuitive as they did earlier. Earlier one experienced injustice (or an event), one felt angry and one acted. But the action/decision or its suitability should depend on the nature of injustice and emotion should not have a place. Lawyers and perhaps surgeons follow this all the time – are perhaps trained to follow this – when not dealing with personal issues. So, out of many possible choice of action, how does one know the right action to take, if you take emotion out of the equation? Indeed, that is a very tough question. If you ever get to read the Mahabharata – it starts with this question – what is dharma – the right action and ends with it – so it can be vexatiously complex! As I have understood till now – right action could be different or same for different people – but it has to be the right action… and feeling or emotion should not be a driving force towards the decision or action. Whatever you do about this incident, please do ponder if its the Right Action that you are taking, regardless of the emotional space you may be in.

  40. This is an yet another reminder to the fact there is acute sickness in judicial health and it needs the most emergent and intensive treatment. But who is to adminster medicine to the patients, who does not accept their sickness and co-operate with the doctor? If any of such issue is brought to light, similar such patients would join together and they would give the first dose of medicine to the doctor herself to silence her voice. If the voice does not recede, but still raise, the next course would be to cripple her limbs with some other powerful device, so that she does not (dares not) write the prescription. To fight for right and to tackle any injury through lawful means is welcome. But before that to think wise by weighing the outcomes of one’s actions and wait for the time to mature by itself is inevitable. Stella needed to wait only for this reason. Hope her time is ok now. To think feminist of one self is something different from living a feminist ! The limitations or barriers are not self made, but man made. We need more makings from the makers of the other end to break those barriers. Will they hear you? Even if they might be reluctant to hear, it will get into the ears someway and haunt their minds!

  41. Stella,

    I am sorry you had to go through that. As a survivor of sexual violence, I can assure you that victims have different ways of dealing with the trauma of a sexual assault. I am sure the same logic also applies to sexual assault of a non-physical kind–you can feel angry, you can feel guilty, you can feel disgusted, amused, upset, disappointed. No one can take your agency or your reaction away from you.

    I am upset though, that you would essentialise feminists this way. I really don’t think it’s a you-are-with-us-or-you-are-against-us movement. For me, I find a lot of closure in reading feminist writings that told me it was okay to not respond, to take time to heal, to recognise I had been wronged. There is no “standard” right reaction, and it is unfair to say that feminist theory does not recognise this. Feminism is not a monolith–Catherine Mackinnon is feminist, so is Ellen Willis. Both of them are opposite ends of the spectrum in their views on sex/pornography but are still united somewhere in the basic beliefs that women should have equal opportunity, and should not HAVE to face the sort of situation that you faced last December.

    No one has the right to force you to take action against the perpetrator. As long as you are not denying his culpability (it doesn’t seem like you are) or trivialising the wrong that he committed or defending him (all of these reactions would mean that with this public expression, you open the floor for dissent), no one has the right to compel you to do anything. If people are judgmental after that, it’s not because they are feminist, it is because they are judgmental.

    In any case, I hope you find your closure.

  42. Stella, you represent thousands of silent students in India who have suffered such sexual perversions from teachers, research guides, bus conductors and elderly passengers almost everyday. I appreciate your courage to write about this though several months after the incident. You could be vociferous only because you are independent and is backed by an NGO. But there are many women still continue under threat from authorities and tolerate all sorts of harassment. This news also point out the suffering of many women lawyers in the bar, chambers and outside for the sake of their career. Kudos to you for coming out now. Let this be a deterrent for every person who try to gain pleasure out of abusing hapless women. May be, as I wrote earlier in the blog Cyber Diary, there should be a therapeutic approach to make a change in such perverted minds.

    1. The very notion that a woman out at work might fall for the passes made at her by some creep is ludicrous. What fools such men make of themselves… odious fools!!!

  43. At the outset, I empathise with Stella or any woman in that situation. However, this blog raises several legal issues and puts the entire judicial process of India under scrutiny. Without naming the Judge who no one else has an inkling of, this blog becomes merely sensational. Secondly, let’s assume the Judge is named. Can India’s judiciary prosecute only on an allegation? Please, not this case, ANY case? This leads to another problem with India . An allegation becomes an indictment automatically in today social media world. In court, it comes down to “He Said” Vs “”She Said”.. Then there is the issue of slander and libel. I have read that the Supreme Court of India has determined that if a woman cries “rape” then it HAS TO BE TRUE because in Indian culture a woman will not make a claim like that unless it is true!!! Really ??? So what about the minor processes like “burden of proof?’. and lowers the bar for women??? Certainly an event that Stella alludes to may have happened and India’s problem is not that India lack laws, In Fact India has too many, but the real issue is India Judiciary lacks a prosecutorial framework and cannot interpret laws in the first place.

  44. At the risk of being vilified by the agitated crowds here, may I propose that the article loses its veracity at the tantalization provided by the mention of “a retired SC Judge.” Without that chair in the arena of discussion, the article generates empathy. With it, Harshad Mehta’s “someone in the PMO” comes to mind. Nirbhaya taught us to be direct and simple in feeling outraged by sexual violence and to be be so angry at tormentors as to ask for death penalty for them. Sitting on the fence is pointless.

  45. Your blog starts with Gandhiji’s statement. But you forgot, Just remembering statements doesn’t mean anything
    until you understand its context and depth. Experience is of no use unless its accompanied with learnings.
    Your “Silence” experience in this case adds no value to a common woman whom you are addressing this.
    As 80% of women already know how to be silent for such incidents.
    You look more of a emotional or over mature woman. Your NO action led this case no where. Is this what you want to share ?
    A timely whistle blowing could have been more fruitful. No matter if you would have failed.
    But here you have surrendered with out even giving a try or attempt to fight back.
    There is no use of your legal studies if your objective is not to change your mindset or help people.
    “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”

  46. you should fight it out..the whole country is with you!! We support you. The judge should face the music!! You will be inspiration for fighting it out.

  47. Dear Miss James,
    I find it admirable that you took the courage to write this article. Unlike most of the other bloggers, I am not going to urge you to file a complaint or call out the retired judge in public and demand an apology or anything of the sort. You are the one who has endured this hardship and after studying 5 years of law, one can hardly expect you not to know the procedures for getting the suspect to court. You have stated your stance on the matter quite clearly in this beautifully written heart-opening article( you mentioned no confusion or fear of exposure of identity in case of the exposure the judge) and in my opinion, everyone should respect your view and the actions you want to take. Of course, if you were to summon the courage and find a way to expose him( you mentioned that there were no witnesses and none of the previous victims would support your claim), I would be entirely supportive of your actions. I am simply writing to tell you this, you, as a conscientious educated, modern-thinking women of today’s day are the best judge of what you should and are feeling and that you should not torment yourself with guilt because other people, who have not experienced what you have, are telling you what you should or should not feel. Do not get weighed down by societal pressure, do what you think is best and trust your own feelings. If you feel you did the right thing, then you did. Do not worry about the others. They can never completely know your reasons, and in a case like this, there is always bound to be controversy. No one can tell you how to behave, because you are the sole master of your mind and body.

  48. This is not to take away from the merits of your case, or belittle what happened to you, if it did indeed. But Stella, I wish you had been more circumspect before writing this blog. These are some very serious allegations that you’re making. By choosing to blog about it in a careless manner, you have undermined the entire institution that is the Indian Supreme Court. I say “careless manner” because on the one hand, you claim no ill will or desire to ruin the life’s work of this man, but on the other, you have given away enough clues for anyone to make an educated guess about who the person in question is. Also, in your interview with Legally India, you’ve pointed fingers at other judges and senior lawyers too! The entire Supreme Court is abuzz with this absolutely informal and ill chosen method of grievance redressal. Your point would have been far more effectively driven home had you chosen to tackle the issue head on and been forthright about it to the appropriate authority. Or maybe you weren’t aware of the consequences of a blog where you were merely airing your feelings about a public figure? Although thats a little hard to digest.
    Perhaps this didn’t occur to you but exercising your right to expression can have unintended consequences. There is already a lot of discrimination against women at the Supreme Court and in my opinion, crying wolf without some solid evidence to back it up, will only make things worse. So, for your sake and for all the other women in the legal profession and in courts across the country, I hope your claims will pass the tests they are going to be put through by the formal investigation that will shortly commence.

    1. so what do you expect from her…suffocate within her …till her last breath. do you love suffocation….keeping bad memory within yourself…not sharing with others.

    2. “I hope your claims will pass the tests they are going to be put through by the formal investigation that will shortly commence.”- The intent appears more of scaring her rather than comforting or guiding her.

      1. It takes courage to forgive the man, who caused the humiliation & violation of your body,mind & soul. It takes courage to answer the call of your conscience, I am a man & i am sorry & ashamed one of us could cause the trauma that you are struggling with. That you have embarked on a journey, to ensure that there are no more victims, you must stay the course, irrespective of all the din that is bound to ensue. I support & salute you. You will certainly be in my prayers.

    3. Are you kidding me? You have no right to write all the bullshit above. How shameful is that we have such cowardly people daring to blackmail this way! Our institutions needs to be clean. Our people have right to talk whatever they want when troubled. Humanity is not dead yet. No institution is bigger when corrupt.

    4. ur response is shameful..if ur a lady more… Stella is absolutely right… A frnd of mine had undergone similar experience during her management internship… Her story is almost similar and like Stella , she in confusion and scared continued the internship for a week or so…. not to jepordise her career and academic record and her image in college… I SUPPORT STELLA !!

    5. Social media is exactly the place to express her grievances so that we get to know what is happening and are able to support her. Had she gone to the “appropriate authority” they would have shoved the issue under the carpet and silenced her.

    6. Hi Ketaki,
      There is plenty wrong with the country and these kind of responses are the last thing we, as a nation need. It is possibly one of the few times where a certain incident has been reported without any ill-will or politicization. It is also one of the few times when the author has adopted a non-accusatory and reflective voice. To find criticism of such a response by placing the experience of a young, talented woman in a paradigm of ‘institutional integrity’ is a simple table-turner that does not address the issue. And that is what you do. As a nation, we don’t need to hear another female lawyer’s perspective (presumably you are a lawyer) on institutional integrity in the context of a woman’s traumatic experience. To be fair though, these are simply some observations on what the country needs and does not, and does not directly relate to what I have to say to you.

      What I do have to say to you, and feel compelled to do so is that you seem to have somehow arrogated upon yourself the privileged role of a spokesperson for the Court.
      What I believe Stella wished to say was that her experience demonstrates/indicates a failing of a systematic, societal perception; the feminist paradigm; She believes that there is no adequate framework within which such an affected person can place her/his experience. What I find problematic with your manner of thinking is how you strip the incident of all human values and empathy and place your ideas in a purely utilitarian perspective. I find it deeply troubling that you, despite being privy to the grand tradition of our Constitutional ideals, find greater disutility in speaking out against an institution than a utility in it. You seem to believe that if one has a serious allegation to make, one ought to pragmatically evaluate the chances of a favorable outcome prior to making those allegations. To quote you, “So, for your sake and for all the other women in the legal profession and in courts across the country, I hope your claims will pass the tests they are going to be put through by the formal investigation that will shortly commence.” To go into a fight knowing that you will win, is not to go into a fight. Rather, it is to engage in the act of bullying. The symbol of the judiciary has been for a long time, and continues to be a blindfolded lady holding a pair of scales. The symbol is indicative that the judge knows neither the might or poverty of the accused or accuser.
      The idea of free speech is befittingly placed in one famous sentence by Voltaire; ‘I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.
      Well, that is simply to put to rest your idea that one should not speak out if the target is a reputed person and your allegations are ‘serious’. Incidentally, the allegations are ‘serious’ because of the impact they have on the victim and not the perpetrator. You seem to think that the ‘seriousness’ stems from the position of the accused or the nature of the offense. To correct you, we as a society, deem such ‘offences’ serious because of the trauma it can inflict on the victim, notwithstanding the adverse psychological impact it can have on the general sense of peace and security within a society.

      That being said, I also want to say that to claim that a simple reflective piece of literature (and I call it that because it places one person’s experiences in the context of a broader, sociological problem) has somehow ‘undermined the entire Institution that is the Supreme Court’ is, an exercise in irrationality. You see, the contestants in this adversarial paradigm are heavily imbalanced; one is an institution that has proved its mettle for integrity, honesty and justice. That is why it is called the Court of last resort. To erode the halo of a high moral ground that the Supreme Court earned with over 6 decades of tireless service is simply put, not a walk in the park.

      I cannot be a judge of how big an impact this blog post will have on the existing gender inequalities plaguing the legal profession. I cannot further, unlike you, claim to be an adequate judge of the impact of this blog post on the ‘institutional integrity’ of the Indian Supreme Court. As a fellow lawyer from the same institution, I urge you however, not to appear as a spokesperson for a fine institution if your perspectives are at absolute odds with that institution and the Constitution it rests upon. Ironically, I wish you had been a bit more circumspect before responding in this manner.

      I hold no ill-will or resentment to your ideas and you’re as free to speak as Stella is. However, I hope your words the next time around would be “So, for your sake and all the other women in the legal profession, I hope the judicial process will be fair and you will find justice. If you do, it will be a victory for both the Court’s integrity and women. If they don’t find your claims valid, I salute you for your courage and hope that our right to free speech is respected, and not merely on paper. I hope they don’t hold it against you and make your life difficult through legally permissible methods.”

      1. Hi Shreyas,

        By your logic, you seem to have designated yourself as the spokesperson for the entire nation since you have, at multiple places, pointed out what the nation “needs” or doesn’t need. I have, on the other hand, merely expressed my views and for the sake of clarity, I reiterate that they are mine alone.

        I speak of the “seriousness” of the allegations because of the impact they will have both on the victim and the perpetrator. Sadly, the issue has already been politicized as is bound to happen when someone points a finger at any public figure in the country. And it doesn’t matter whether the person is right or wrong. Take a look at the numerous responses. People have already judged the alleged perpetrator as guilty. And I do have great regard for the due process of law and the right to to an adequate hearing. I am saddened that people have rushed to declare guilt without giving the other party a chance to be heard.

        It appears that you, not I, are at odds with our constitutional values since you have presumed to dictate what my words should have been or should be in the future. Maybe you should re-read that Voltaire quotation.

      2. I understand and respect your views. I just disagree with them.

        As for the politicization of the issue as it stands, I believe that that is a part and parcel of occupying a position in public office as the person concerned is representative of the public. I am in complete agreement with you on the adverse impact it can have on everyone concerned. However, I don’t believe that the possibility of politicization and presumed guilt warrants a silencing of the issue by the affected person.
        And to that end, I don’t agree with you when you say that “It does not matter if the person is right or wrong.” In fact, I think it matters enormously. There is a very understandable discomfort in probing the truth of these issues. But then again, truth is above all, right ? At least we agreed to that in our Constitution.

        I am as saddened as you are on the politicization and premature conclusions. But I don’t get how you picked the wrong target for your redressal. The people making premature conclusions are those people, the commenters (such as you and I). Not the author of this blog.

        And of course those views are yours alone, and I’m glad you’re the only one with those views. I merely found it disturbing to read your take and so, exchanged notes. Please don’t take it personally. Clearly, we can agree to disagree and move on with our lives.

  49. This is really thought-provoking, and gives me insight into the mind of a person who has gone through such an experience and it is something I never really had (being a man). You have immense courage and a really strong mind to not only withstand it but also talk about it and have a clear perspective.
    As you say, this is a supposedly unacceptable situation but the society has very much trained us to compromise with injustice. Taking a stand is mostly taken as a futile attempt and a sure way of losing respect in the eyes of everyone around. Much more so with women than with men.
    However, I see hope when I see brave souls like, come out and speak about it, trust me, it is a big deal. It is the change that India needs. Anger can come later. What must come first is the understanding of wrong from right with the clarity of a crystal. And Stella, you are among the first rays of light through this crystal.
    Thank you and all the other brave women who strive each day to create an identity of their own. In every meaning of the word, you are “Saving” the country from itself.

  50. It is really shocking for the simple reason that a SC judge has done such kind of shameless act. It is sure that you were not the first girl to be assaulted by him, he must have done this to many many girls . You should fight it out by naming that man. That is my view although I fully understand that you have absolute right to react the way you wish is correct.

  51. Dear Stella,

    You are entitled to your reaction and noone can take that from you. Having witnessed such incidents in our profession I at one time also felt I should write about it but did not have the beautiful words to express the way you have. Perhaps your only intent was to write a short piece of your experience and how you dealt with it. And I think I would’ve done the same. Time does heal everything and I hope you got the closure you needed. India is not ready for change in any mindset let alone reading a blog as it is, instead of belittling it. Everything that is written does not need a purpose and every reaction to something like this cannot be accounted for. Its surprising how harsh people can be. Do keep writing. I found a lot of truth and resemblance in what you have said with things I have experienced and seen. Good luck to the inevitable political exercise you will be put through. People are already judging you. As you can see people think they know everything, whats right, whats wrong and if you don’t react the way they want you to, then well its best to discredit you. I think sometimes people forget how young you are and yet you have shown such maturity and courage. Sometimes the only thing that makes sense is to retrospect and write. So keep it up!

  52. Miss. James I can understand your agony and overwhelming sadness. As per record number of judicial officers suspended for sexual harrasment with servant maid and junior female advocates.of course Judge also human olden days judicial officers were not allowed any body including lawyer into their chambers,except invitation.presently every Tom dick and Harry allowed to chambers and it causes for corruption and sexual abuses. I agree in your case no physical abuse,because who is old man.i think he might be sexual delayed to focus the issue and no evidence in your case. Certainly he will be escape under the eye of must reveal the name to prevent risk to know highest sexual violence in South Africa.every 26 seconds one rape in Cape Town.the cause is male domination. we are slightly woman must be careful .in your case take steps under law and teach lesson to the culpript without any hesitation.culpript is a judge ,so your issue become popular.if the culpript a poor man there is no big issue . Female has no privacy,and protection. You are well educated and intellectual and hesitating by showing sympathy against old man. You must fight for giving courageous to youth to prevent .its shame to judiciary. I will join hand with you and I will give legal support if you required.

  53. This is only to bring a different perspective to the issue ( a male perspective, if you insist). You can probably admit that there could be a spectrum of perceptions on what is sexual harassment and what is not and you alone are the judge of what is good for you and what is not. Some actions, words or gestures are such that they leave no doubt when the person on the receiving end is an unwilling participant and there are others that are merely undesirable, irritating and still others that are perceived by many as complimentary and flattering depending on the context or the cultural milieu of the participants. In a society used to suppressing natural feelings or at least public display of anything remotely sexual but at the same time permitting certain aspects of behavior or attire as a proxy for courting or preening, not everything is unambiguous. Changing social mores have made such behavior increasingly acceptable, but in general hypocrisy reigns supreme in the form of unwarranted prudery. Without prejudice to your stand in the matter, and particularly since there was a vast difference in ages and hierarchical stature, this particular situation could probably have been defused by resorting to a tactful rebuff or a playful appeal to his better self as the circumstances demand. In retrospect do you think a sincere apology would have been forthcoming if you had acted thus? Recognition of the individual as mere flesh and blood cloaked in black robes could also help in overcoming your trauma. No guarantee of course of succeeding when you have to confront a determined and reckless repeat offender.

    The solution comes with the understanding that, short of making exploratory moves that enables to identify a reciprocating response, any interaction whether in words or gestures, should not impose on another’s will. An understanding that will serve to bring in civic virtue and avoid undesirable behavior of all types that impinge on the rights and privacy of individuals.

  54. I do hope that you find the strength and the courage to divulge details of the incident and the identity of the judge before the committee constituted by the SC. A lot of women take the safe route of keeping quiet for the sake of their careers resulting from the fear of being potentially perceived as the troublemaker ( and I do not judge them for that but it’s more of a systemic failure), but I think, your NGO employer is supportive, so all the very best. There is no need to back out any further, and the matter is already high-profile, so it’s important now to tap your inner strength and come out with the facts.

    And such a sensitive, well-written piece – I could immediately relate to it, not because I have ever been sexually harassed at the workplace, but because such has been the extent of conditioning, that non-physically injurious instances of sexual harassment on the road or such like has only made me feel humiliated and sad, but not necessarily angry.

  55. It is not the isolated incident and accross the country, in many Courts, higher or lower, sexual harassment takes place but not everything comes in open. Persons occupying high positions tend to become lonely and rather sex starved and they try to lay their hands on easy prey in close vicinity of their position. The thing is to change the mindset and handle pervertness.

  56. A sane piece of advice from ’emmurali’,with regard to options of tactful rebuff. Perhaps her decision to go public was guided by her knowledge of this same gentleman indulging in similar behaviour with others like her. Notwithstanding the right/wrong queston,she may have let it drop,but for the fact that she felt he was a determined and reckless repeat offender.
    Instances of moral turpitude are coming out.The most recent one a year back was that of a prominent spokesperson of a political party, receiving ‘favours’,ostensibly to influence the appointment of the favour giver as a Judge.It’s high time we had a professional Indian Judicial Service,in the lines of IAS etc,like they have in France.Few weeks back we had an Addnl CJM who refused to record the testimony of a witness/accused in the Solar Scam in Kerala,that she had been sexually used/abused by a few prominent persons.High Court Vigilance Registrar has released a report today that implicates this Addnl CJM. Now,will the CJ of Kerala High Court act and
    throw this ACJM out ? Interested Indians can wait and watch.Since this is a legal community blog,I am sure most of the people here know the answer.

  57. Stella,
    Hang in there!! We are with you. I agree with the last paragraph of yours completely. Not being faced with a situation similar to yours, I can only partially understand how you feel after re-reading the blog a few times. However, it beats me how you did not even feel like battling the man who did something so atrocious and left you broken. You never wanted to try and fight. Did you presume that there is no way you could win? I guess you respected the man so much that you could not have any ill-feelings towards him and digest the fact that he could stoop so low. But the insult of being sexually harassed stayed with you, which was the reason for your overwhelming sadness added up to the fact that you did not want to blame the culprit. You had neutral feelings towards him. Sometimes when there is too much complexity and confusion, the mind just shuts away all emotions and you become callous. But, a part of you wanted people to know about the injustice and your inner turmoil and so you have decided to write it here.

    1. If you are worried about how you will face him in the court or meet his eyes, DON’T BE. And I know there must be a lot of pressure on you from the family and the supreme court officials. We are all watching, if anyone tries to undermine you, I will be right next to you holding your hand, within 24 hours. Be bold. Fear not. They know that you have the attention and they can’t touch you without harming themselves.

  58. Dear Sister – You have taken the courage to come out and tell the world – or warn the world. I think you are wise enough to decide whether to name the judge in public, whether to follow up through law. But even the mere fact that you spoke out has a positive effect on the society – more girls getting assaulted can feel courageous to report and more of these criminals cannot assume silence will cover their faults. Keep fighting the way you choose and the nation still has a lot of good people to stand by you. It is a shame on us – your brothers – who tie a rakhi on your wrist and fail to protect you.

  59. Theory is never – and is not supposed to be – adequate to the singularity of experience. Political projects – in their attempt to make *common* cause – invariably involve highlighting certain sides of experience while relegating others to the background.

    So I don’t quite understand why you have chosen to attack an under-specified “feminism” in your blog post.

    No doubt though that what you have had to go through is reprehensible and you are very courageous for articulating all the complex, conflicting thoughts and emotions associated with the experience.

  60. Stella. This was not an easy piece for you to write. That it took as long as it did to surface is clearly the outcome of much thought, some angst, reflection and candidness. Indeed it is “experience” and experience alone that gives character, flesh and realness to the laws we ourselves have advocated for and against. Your sharing of the conflicted reality that so many women agonise over every day, everywhere, when it comes to workplace sexual harassment – self-doubt, conditioned responses, denial, excusing an offender, and a systemic silence which thrives on the false pretext that workplace sexual harassment is “just the way things are” are both accurate and insightful.
    We eclipse the impact of sexually offensive experiences in the language of compromise, one which overlooks the offensive nature of inappropriate behaviour. And by default we give the benefit of doubt to the other person’s career, age, status and prominence, all at the cost of our own experienced truth. Offenders thrive on our conditioning- our sense of moral discomfort, the hesitating way in which we approach all things sexual and most importantly, on our silence. Yet your experience surfaced in the midst of a milestone event- December 16th, where one woman, against all odds, told her story from an ICU bed- reminding us that silence is not an option. You have reaffirmed that contemporary thought- silence truly is no longer an option. The greatest adversary against realising our fundamental right to equality and dignity in our everyday spaces, including workplaces, is the passive bystander. Through their silence, bystanders become complicit in sustaining a complacent status quo. When we, whether as witnesses or those who have experienced similar workplace sexual harassment, speak up, we promote the belief that our workplace ought to be a place which allows us to excel, to grow and uniquely as lawyers, to enable others.
    Already an army of myths, stereotypes and assumptions about you and your blog, is marching in tandem with your revelations eager to deter you and bring you back in line with the way things are. The same was true when Anita Hill, an American attorney who at the age of 32 charged a US Supreme Court Judge nominee, Clarence Thomas of making sexual harassing statements when he was her supervisor in the US Department of Education. He still got appointed to the US Supreme Court bench, but Hill’s testimony launched new public awareness about workplace sexual harassment. Draw strength from that. I do not know what will be the outcome of your own experience in legal terms, but I do know one thing. Down the road, you will be able to enter the classroom of the next generation and tell them about what you did do, not what you didn’t.

  61. Dear Stella, if your allegations are true (which I hope they are), then I salute you for the manner in which you have responded!!! Its the best possible thing anyone (in your place) could have done and your actions will serve a much bigger blow to the rampant malaise than say, what a hasty/ reactionary response would have. I do not know if this happened by purposeful design or plain randomness but your name will find glowing mention in the relevant jurisprudence for many years to come. MORE POWER TO YOU!!!

  62. “While the incident affected me deeply, I felt little anger and almost no rancour towards the man; instead I was shocked and hurt that someone I respected so much would do something like this. My strongest reaction really, was overwhelming sadness. But this sort of response was new to me. That I could understand his actions and forgive him for them, or that I could continue to think of him as an essentially ‘good’ person, seemed a naïve position that were completely at odds with what I had come to accept was the “right” reaction to such incidents…”

    I perhaps understand these feelings that you share. I think – to be able to understand, to be able to forgive and move on in life without anger, shame or feeling of humiliation – requires a lot of power within oneself – self confidence, courage that perhaps many of us don’t have. Perhaps – that is why this is not considered to be the ‘right’ reaction to such incidents.

    I have been reading the reactions to your blog and interview – it seems a special committee is being set up to investigate this case. I am wondering about your reactions to all these developments…did you anticipate this?

  63. Don’t feel pity towards this jerk, and don’t worry about ruining his life’s work by reporting him… he has done this to others, too. Using a position of authority to take advantage of innocent girls is not something to be taken lightly. We expect more moral uprightness in a judge… please don’t let him off lightly. He needs to pay a price for his actions, and so do countless others in positions of authority, who think nothing before harming and taking advantage of helpless people. Thank you for speaking up. And, please continue to do so! Proud of you.

  64. it”s really sad that you went through such an incident.But i am really surprised to read that you don’t want to fight against that person ,being a lawyer you know the legal remedies availaible .on the other hand let the truth come out .

  65. You say that “As mentioned earlier, I bore, and still bear, no real ill-will towards the man, and had no desire to put his life’s work and reputation in question. ” My question is WHY ? Why must one be forgiving here. Why you must not feel that not only he should pay for all that he has done but his punishment should act as a deterrent for his ilk as well.

  66. Its really sad and shame for all Indians especially from the side of highly reputed persons. Still I can’t understand why there is no effective remedies are not in place in a country like India where the world’s power lady is the final word of the government.

  67. Dear Stella,
    You are a lawyer and brave girl. You know well about law and keep faith on it. Why not you are opting legal action against the culprit? It will give a message to law and justice keepers that they are not all powered and they can also be prosecuted. It will set an example as well for other girls and justice keepers. Please come forward.

  68. Gandhi once said that we have to fight against evil and not the evil doer. In your case, this must be the case, you don’t have to bother about the legal reputation of the retired Judge; nor about the position he held as an SC Judge. I can understand your hesitation and doubts you carry in your mind in challenging people in high positions and Judges held in high esteem. Actually this is a failure of our entire institutions. Most of the Indian institutions fail to check abuse – whether they are verbal, physical or sexual. In fact most of our institutions are having their own unique way of showing their places to juniors through continuous intimidation and harassment. They in turn return the same treatment to the juniors to follow. But it is good that you decided to speak out. It is greatly relieving; whatever may be the consequences. As Christ said, “truth shall make you free.”

  69. I think we should. We should be able to accept our feelings and need not take sides with a group. Mankind likes to set reactions for everything as a ‘correct reaction’. We like standards.. For everything. But even though we live in a society which sets these standards we have urself to own up to… And that is the ultimate authority. I can relate to you if u still respect the man for his other qualities and still think of him in good light. I would just like to say that the feminist movement is an reaction to extreme harm/ violations of women., hence the reaction/ movement is extreme too… It should not/ need not be applicable in cases of lesser intensity.. If you can overcome harm to you by laughing at it, you might as well.. I mean don’t we do the same when met with an accident? 🙂

  70. No remands, just file the case. Hang him with courts permission without any time-lag , only option left to survive females now a days

  71. Dear Stella,
    You have narrated the ground reality and it unveils the failure of the system. When you start moving against the ‘BIG Man’, things may change and you may again get experienced with mental torture. It is a sad truth that in the prevailing system here , it is almost impossible for a “small” to fight against “big” legally. So please prepare a plan cautiously and patiently . Try to become stronger and bigger in the system . I dont think a large scale media exposure can help you in a long run. I have seen reports in the media saying that the victims are being ‘assulted’ in the courts by lawyers with detailed questiones, reminding them of what they do not want to remember. So please be prepared . Assure the suppport of Family , friends and relatives in your fight.
    Again, it is easy to play with comments but certainly it would be a great relief for you.
    With mind, I stand with you.
    Certainly a time will come and the ‘big’ would pay , in one way or other. Let us trust the theory of Karma.
    Wishing you the very best.

  72. Not every women will be able to respond in a manner that you chose. You should bring out that person to public. It is not just for breaking his ‘kingdom’…. atleast this will be a warning to other ‘Wolf’s in sheep’s clothing’..

  73. Stella, I salute your courage in penning down your thoughts. This was an extremely powerful piece written very well and has left a lasting impression.

    Your last sentence: “when dealing with sexual violence, can we allow ourselves to embrace feelings beyond or besides anger, and to accept the complexity of emotions that we face when dealing with any traumatic experience?”, is perhaps one of the most thought provoking ones I have ever read anywhere and is something which perhaps quite a few of the people who left comments to this post did not address at all.

    I sincerely wish you all the best for the future.

  74. Women in Mahabharata reveal to men in general that they are great teachers of life and relationships. A French friend while she was in Delhi once told me that one ex AG/SG had made amorous passes at her in French language at an environmental film festival. She described him as a ‘lech’. Toxic conduct of senior members of bar and bench need to be rigorously documented by their subordinates. This hold true for all the professions…journalism, politics, bureaucracy, corporate sector, NGOs. You seem like a brave women from Mahabharata. May you always remain so. Your choice of words is without malice despite facing having been violated. Bible aptly states, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned”.

  75. Stella,
    At least after ten months you had the courage to tell about it. What you have done is a great contribution towards prompting the SC to take some action. This would, to a great extend, save many other girls from similar exploitation.
    Any girl who may or might have, come across such situation should react immediately or in case of helplessness, after the incident- tear off the masks of those VIPs – they should not feel safe just because the girl submitted herself and a girl will not stake her reputation. You have been violated ; not committed any sin.

  76. If it is true, than It means the Evil things may enter into the human minds at anytime when he find a isolated place. The only treatment for this is that , It should be hadled carefully , immediately and wisely with a plan among confiedential & faithfull personnels to catch the such Evil things which is reported now very late. so the isolated places be avoided by females because it is very difficult to establish the Evil things as proof in the court in the absence of any witness.

  77. Stella
    I am also preparing for law school!
    i know it is difficult
    but u must fight!
    I dont know about any one one else!
    but i am with u!
    the whole country is with u!

  78. Stella, all that I can express and wish is that you take this fight, now that you have initiated the first step, to its logical conclusion and, more importantly, see to it that the Supreme Court in order to ensure real freedom of speech to the people in general & young girls in particular, abolish the evil shield called: TRUTH IS NO DEFENCE IN PROCEEDINGS UNDER CONTEMPT OF COURT … I wish you success and assure you of support of all the people I know …

  79. It sounds like you are afraid of the consequences of speaking out against this man. You “bear no ill will” towards him? That’s hard to believe, and if it’s true, it’s deeply troubling. His “reputation” and “life’s work” are completely different things; if he violated you (especially if you made it amply clear that it was against your will), he HAS to face the consequences.
    It’s possible that he’s assaulted several girls before and since. You do NOT need to play devil’s advocate (for example, saying you were “not physically hurt, though”). But fear holding you back from confronting a man in a position of power, that I can understand is a major roadblock.

  80. Stella, As a member of the legal fraternity i show my solidarity to your cause of justice. May you be able to withstand pressures and stick to the truth.
    Navkiran Singh Advocate
    General secretary
    Lawyers For Human Rights International.
    Chandigarh. INDIA.

  81. More power to you for speaking out – and yes this will help avoiding other students being subjected to this man’s assaults. The emotions that sexual assault leave us with are indeed often complex and often surprise us. I actually think the guilt about not being more angry is just a form of survivor guilt – where after an assault we examine our own behavior, whether pre or post assault and subject it to scrutiny. Guilt confers agency back to ourselves. I also wonder we have also felt guilty because much of our preconceived notions of outrage come from movies and tv shows which are not remotely made by feminists.

  82. stella , kudos atleast u gathered the courage to speak now at least..better than maintain silence and suffer the humiliation…why cant we break this internalized chain of silence and speak just there and then…

  83. We indians are the biggest hypocrites . . . amazing that from nirbhaya’s uneducated monsters to pervert buddhe supreme court judges all are morally depraved . . . bc itni aag lagi hui hai to legalize prostitution in a big way par nahi tab inko hinduism, raamji yaad aa jaayenge . . . fuck this system.
    that girl must be in her 20’s n that retired “judge” is the age of her grandpa!
    even junglee ppl hv better sense of rite/wrong 🙁

  84. Stella , kudos to the amount of courage you took for letting this grave incident come out in public. The question is not about being physically hurt , it’s about the violation that was caused. And he needs to pay for that . You could pave way for all those innocent victims who fail to muster courage and let themselves be exploited in the hands of such perverts. let nothing stop you.

    1. Stella, my heart goes out to you. But, it’s dreadful feeling to realize that despite tall talks by protesters or the upholders of law nothing ever happened or will happen. Everyday gory incidents happen and we hear them or read about them like any other headline or story. So long as one is unaffected nothing really matters, I suppose. I sound cynical; but, no one really cares for anyone. Even leading dailies do not want to publish articles which contain too many harsh truths or strongly worded protests. I only wish women had the power or right to injure the criminals there and then, by some means – say, a really sharp instrument like knife or some chemical that could injure the person for life.

  85. Stella around the time you were experiencing the factum of being a victim of sexual harassment I was arguing before the DB in the High Court of Delhi in a sexual harassment matter that was 13 yrs old.
    Stella I appreciate your concerns and confusion and also wonder whether I did what I did -that is complain and go to Court as well. would it have been better slapping the debased man instead instead of being slapped, ostarcised, rapped by my organization?
    As an educated woman I believe that you should speak out however painful the journey may be given the ethos and law implementation in this country. Now that the matter is in the open please go ahead and speak out. I have fought a sexual harassment case in court for the last 14 yrs and still am.
    But I still feel that every pain and effort i experinced/took/put in was for the betterment of women in the country-because now the Railways have the committees(how good they are depends on the people), the High Court has a separate Court for such cases as mine LPA took 8years to be decided and WP 5 yrs.
    I was hounded within the organization, ill-treated, victimized instead of being treated with dignity, ostarcised but I had pledged to defend the cause of women less well placed than me as I am a senior civil servant and lucky that my family and friends supported me right thorugh. But a clerk in the office or a steno/Pvt Secetary have to face much more. Its an old boys school syndrome that one faces in such situations after one complains.Even women colleagues for their personal benefits of promotion,postings will not support you.
    One cannot protect such debased people who try to harass however good they may be professionally. Otherwise the CBI director should be forgiven for the disgusting remark that he made. It’s time women in this country spoke out and fought hard to be given due respect and to be treated with respect.
    I wish you well and am there if you need me.
    You can go through the DB judgment-LPA 489/2004 of the High Court OF Delhi dtd 21.12.12. The Division Bench judgement is indeed something that saddens me everyday though -the order was : :
    1.that my complaint is not false and if enquired into the accused would have faced adverse consequences. The Supreme Court said officers of Indian Railways would go to jail when it dismissed the Railways SLP in Aug 2013 this year..
    2. That salary be paid from 1998 and Compensation of 5lakhs and litigation costs of Rs50,000/-only (dunno when the Courts will become real) whereas I spent far more and am still spending
    2.a. Even though my slalry was wrongly stopped,I was transferred after I complained though I didnt ask for the same, I was forced to proceed on leave without pay, penal rent was imposed malafidely, transferred 17 times in 15 yrs , not allowed a steady tenure posting anywhere, called litigative, not to be talked to, even now male officers dont want to talk alone with me in the office, other male officers think they can get away with cheap talk as no one will listen to my complaints yet No officer was held responsible by the H’ble Court even though compensation was awarded and both the Committees were quashed.
    2.b. The organization held two illegal inquiries at the behest of one of the witnnesses who was also the Genral Manger and not competent to do an enquiry or order/nominate one,
    3.. The wrongly appointed Fact finding Committee and even the Standing complaints committee did not follow any procedure of inquiry yet no one was taken up, The Complaints Committee called same witnesses and copy pasted report of earlier committee and yet the H’be Court held that the inquiry was done de novo-truly the papers I submitted on affidavit were not read properly.
    3. the Sexual harassment committee was of officers junior to the accused yet found in order
    4.payment of my unpaid dues for 15 yrs was ordered but without interest.
    5.The accused was made Chief Personnel officer and he was judge in his own cause.
    6. the accused was officially represented during service and after retirement by the Counsel for Railways before the High Court and even in the Supreme Court he was represented by the Solicitor General-a shame indeed.
    5. Compensation awarded was 5lakhs for a trauma i have been going through for 15 years without salalry and yet I fought the case on my own after trying to seek help from lawyers and even lady lawyers.
    6. I amd now arguing the Contempt case I had to file in Feb 2013 as the salary ordered to be paid on 21..12.12 has not been paid and the matter is pending for orders of the Court for the last 9 months. The Railways were ordered to deposit my slalry in Court which they did partly and recovered about 7 yrs of HRA paid to me asint all rules . I’ d be lucky i get a deicsion on 22.11.2013 the next date of hearing or within 2/3 yrs. The Contemnors are sitting ensconced in their cushy offices and I ahve to waste money,time,effort and my leave for every hearing-there have been 4/5 hearings till now and yet no compliance of the Court’s orders.
    Should I appeal against the High Court order -yes I do so want to but do not have the strength left to pursue the matter indefinitely for years as Justice in pour country is badly delayed.
    I do wonder that if the Committee of Judges of the Apex Court gives a report not acceptable to you where do you appeal, what is the legal recourse available thereafter? I believe the matter should have been dealt differently.
    I do fear for your career prospects and what you will have to go through but we have to bring about a change for our younger generation. I have started a campain againsts sexual harassment in India on FB where like-minded men and women are going to put heart, mind and soul together to fight this social malaise.(
    You may join if you want to.
    Best wishes
    Mrs Sharma

    1. My heart goes out to you Mrs. Sharma. I would not like to use empty words ” courage ” “bold” to you, as you are a iron-willed lady. You are one of the blessings for the women of our society. Keep fighting!!

    2. Dear Mrs Sharma,

      I thought I am the only women fighting against sexual harassment at workplace coupled with corruption at every level.

      Women who speak have to face the ordeal of going through the courts as if she herself is the criminal.

      As you rightly said, if the committees set up by High court and Supreme courts are giving biased and one sided report without considering the documents and evidences submitted, then where to go ?


  86. Stella DO Not Fear! You have taken the Bull By Horns – fight that pervert till the end! You ‘ll end up saving and sparing Lakhs of Young Indian girls from vultures!! Counteless woman and girls now look themselves in you! You must avenge the sick men of the society for all of those helpless, faceless, powerless woman subjected to sexual assaults evveryday!! Exemplary courage and will to fight!

  87. This is a serious matter. The entire judiciary all over the country has been tarnished and is in deep …t . The reputation can be salvaged only if prosecution is launched against the Judge mentioned in the blog. To preserve the so called reputation which is mud today the enquiry panel who are brother judges will try their best to exonerate. But the normal law of the land proclaims that such an enquiry is not on any statute book and the said persons know not what they are doing. The provisions of the code of criminal procedure empowers the police to record an fir. Normal citizens who molest are arrested and police use third degree methods to bring out the truth and the evidence. Under which law or judicial system in this country can these lords of the Supreme Court can be spared the usual rough methods of investigation ? Some top lawyers should enlighten the public. A few slaps while in custody and minimum third degree methods will result in proof and evidence and it is high time such steps are taken by the police to prove to the common man that everybody is equal. Even if the girl interns don’t come forward when adequate proof is collected and public opinion is channelised they will depose and justice will be done. The laws of rape and molestation are not applicable only to godmen and politicians or only to common citizens but also applied to the high and mighty. Why are all the top women’s organisations , political commentators. NGOs and their champions of women’s rights silent spectators is a question which nobody seems to be answering. The police who are empowered to act must show guts arrest the judges and set the law in motion so that public confidence is restored in our legal system

  88. stella, what u want to calm ur anger & beware others,i think u sc took it in its knowledge $ let it inquire.but u saw it also that in many fields there r many others who adopt short cut to get some advantage of their seniors.they make vision to treat everyone like the same.u r a girl of values.values always saves everyone & teaches us to treat with sentence is not the way to end crimes ,its forgiveness what made u great & shame to others.everybody knows d reallty of society so weldone to put one of that truth.u r a girl of dignity so put an example of not sacrificing ur dignity.

  89. Dear Stella

    Hats off to your bravery. I am a lawyer employed in a well known corporate and have faced a similar situation like yours, with an older man, old enough to be my grand father , who is the company’s top most Legal Advisor. Though there was no physical violence, sexually coloured comments were rampant. Even on confronting him he has not ceased. I have still not made an official complaint for lack of evidence and fear of loosing my career. I am angry and ashamed of myself. But one fact stands Lawyers and members of the Legal Fraternity have always believed that they are beyond Law. It is this very attitude that has led to members of the Legal fraternity on and off the Bar, to dare to indulge in such activities, because they know they can escape the clutches of Law.

    I appreciate your team for standing behind you. There are hundreds of Lawyers like us, who stand behind you.

    1. Dear Menaka
      Keep your mobile ‘on record or video mode ‘and tape his remarks/comments.You even get pens that can be used which have video cameras and voice recorders-do so and you have evidence.Is it worth taking the nonsense from your boss/boss’s boss and demeaning yourself everyday just because you are a lady? No. you should not .
      Dont be ashamed of yourself.
      We are with you.
      M Sharma

    2. dear , you must not absorb non sense at any point, there is no reason to continue with it. purchase a Dictaphone manufactured by Sony to get a clear record of the non-sense and believe me it will fetch you a concrete evidence against the pervert. let the perverts know that their actions are being recorded so that they stop themselves from getting caught.

  90. Stella, you have done a great job towards concept of freedom of women by exposing monster sitting in the temple of justice.

  91. You know your experience helps me relate to mine. Quite the similar case. I was an intern back then, in a very reputed Institute of mental health. There was a Psychiatrist whom I respected and learnt a great deal from throughout the training. On the last day, I went to thank all mentors and that was when he became one of the ‘creepy’ men. A man who tried to get more than a ‘Thank you for being so awesome at your job’. My ‘insensitive’ close friend laughed it off too, but I couldn’t feel comfort in that.
    So that being said, reading your description of what feelings you went through, is liberating. Thank you, though I don’t know you.

    1. Absolutely no comfort in helplessness due to the high and mighty creeps around us.Overwhelming sadness at our belittlement and dishonor is what everybody feels in such situations.

      1. I always wonder why men do this? Do they have such deep contempt for women that they are completely blind to the suffering they inflict on women?
        What kind of depraved man enjoys humiliating a woman?

  92. Doesn’t surprise me one bit. While the lady admits that litigation is one profession where such behaviour is rampant, it’s pretty common in the corporate world as well. A Senior Vice President in a leading Indian firm ( Wipro BPO, Delhi) where I have worked was infamous for his disgusting , unwelcome & incessant sexually overt comments & jokes. The HR though led by a lady herself was too apathetic & inefficient to pay any heed to the repetitive complaints by the female staff & continued to ignore it for over 8 years ! I think it just may be time to name & shame the culprit in public.
    – yet another victim .

  93. Sexual offenders generally get away, because the wronged acquiesce to it. Eventhough, your statement is tad bit late, it is quite understandable and excusable, since you have been alone in this. I am thrilled that you could not muster the courage to complain. Justice will prevail for you and truth will eventually emerge and the spot light will shine on this person who hides in the shadows.

  94. Kudos to you Stella for speaking out….its never too late on such important issues. The judiciary in general and judges of SC in particular are living with an aura of invincibility….they consider themselves above the law. It is time to show their real face and therefore this particular gentleman(??) needs to be named and shamed….you are being too decent. That such incidents are rampant in the higher judiciary speaks poorly of people who fight for or dispense justice. Also what is most disturbing is that this is happening in, supposedly, one of the pillars of our democracy. How low can we morally sink????

  95. Might I also add that a large body of lawyers from our fraternity and other professionals living in India, believe everything that you have written and stand ready to fight for you and help you secure the ends of justice.

  96. I write this, Stella, to applaud not just your courage, but also to applaud the way that you have handled an unsavoury matter with dignity, common sense and honour despite the emotional upheavals it has caused.
    As a man who is probably as old as the Judge, your blog prompted me to look into the looking glass myself and the man I saw was a bewildered man. Bewildered because the more I read your blog to understand your feelings, the more confused I became. It seems so difficult for me to comprehend why you find the memory of the incident so abhorrent and yet look upon its perpetrator without rancor and with much greater sympathy than he probably deserves. Living in times when the world mostly sees in black and white and has lost its ability to distinguish the shades of grey, in my thinking, there seems to be no scope for reconciliation though I try to fathom the various nuances of the emotions that may have passed through your mind to reach this Gordian Knot.
    But I am happy I did look into this metaphorical mirror because that is perhaps the only way to see your soul. Thus your blog has set me off on a journey to understand my own mind better. I now comprehend your emotions in this matter with better empathy: but I still cannot resolve them.
    Thus, even more than justice, I wish you peace of mind.
    God Bless.

  97. You see Stella – How you have indirectly helped another poor soul, under immense pain and pressure, to come out and hit back against the against the powerful perverts (Tehelka Journalist)!!! Your actions will not go in vain and u ve become a torch bearer because of ur bold actions. I believe, as CJI said yesterday, you WILL get Justice. We support you, We believe you. Keep up the fight!!

  98. Dear Stella James – now that you have expressed dissatisfaction and humiliation by the
    3-judge panel of the SCI, my suggestion is that you write to the CJI that you would be constrained to file the FIR naming the judge to maintain the majesty of law and the SCI. Because, at stake is working women’s safety and dignity not only in the SCI, but other courts too throughout India. Not naming a judge or taking action against him also means defaming other SC judges who retired recently. It also means the SCI is trying to protect the accused, which itself is not proper. If you so wish I can represent you at the next hearing, if any.

  99. Dear Stella,

    Being a woman I reckon that be it even the ‘smallest’ of incidents, we do manage to shrug it off but it stays on in our minds and also goes on to contribute in fostering hatred for all men and becoming judgmental. Coming out of the closet to relate an incident of such a nature is the bravest thing we can do. I congratulate you for doing so.

    Being a member of the law fraternity as yourself, I congratulate you for bringing about a movement in the much needed cog wheels of justice for women in India. I hope this fire, that has taken so long to get ignited, does not get doused out unless it devours the evil it has set out to destroy….. Amen.

  100. You have started on a path of allowing morality to unravel and explain itself to you. Towards achieving that end, the path chosen by you and the stand taken by you thus far are steps in the right direction. But your self-expressed need to find closure is a contradiction of both your morality and your courage. It will probably take longer for you to find closure than the duration of the present inquiry or even the sentencing of the judge concerned. You have embarked on a journey of education and will probably learn that a system like ours is a mockery of justice. And what may we expect from a judicial system which has chosen to become the last defence of that depraved system? Everything in this country has begun to come apart. Our learned Prime Minister also confessed a fortnight ago that forces were pulling the country apart from inside. Justice is a divine prerogative rarely doled out in exact measure by the courts who are bound by laws arising out of a system which is essentially unjust. Try to find understanding and not closure and maybe, just maybe, you will get early justice. Your natural good self has allowed you not to harbour a sense of bitterness; but you also show the weakness of allowing yourself to be led by others opinions, this weakness has made you turn the anger internally upon your inability to become vindictive vis-a-vis the predator judge: this is a negation of the great strength in your character and the moral sanskars that you have the good fortune to have inherited, imbibed and/or inculcated. The humbling of the retired judge will offer him an opportunity to reflect upon himself before his life is over, it is almost as you have offered him an opportunity to improve his life. What I would recommend is, don’t have too much hope from this system, don’t invite the poison of bitterness that you don’t feel into your life, remain detached and learn about humanity and justice; maybe, some day you will make a good judge, and God knows, we desperately need them.

  101. Its very unfortunate that we are discussing something which is very serious in nature. One part is that the Judiciary of India is blamed, for its system, the other is Student of law, who had a vision in this profession, third the future of the action that might be taken… future the girl student wont take any risk to be a intern …as the Committee who recommend the student are all in dark, the intern should discuss with them who recommended and is sole responsible …

  102. I remember going to a govt office for my father’s work. There was this around 55 year old officer who helped me a lot but later something didnt seem right – he was sitting too close all the time, asked me if I had a boyfriend, what do I think about live in relationships etc, was staring at my breasts continuously and ‘told’ me that he will take me out for dinner in the night!!I somehow I managed to get my work done and managed to escape from there, but I felt really bad. I was 22 and he was my father’s age. As stella says here – I did feel violated but more than that I was sad for that man and his family.

    I never told my parents because I dont want them to think that girls are a liability and can never do all the work boys can do.

  103. This is M SHARMA to Stella James on November 16, 2013 at 12:44 am

    “I do wonder that if the Committee of Judges of the Apex Court gives a report not acceptable to you where do you appeal, what is the legal recourse available thereafter? I believe the matter should have been dealt differently.”

    Sharma was more than prophetic.
    TODAY( DEC 5,2013)
    :Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam says in the order, “We have carefully scrutinized the statement (written as well as oral) of Ms. Stella James, the affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly. It appears to the Committee that in the evening on 24.12.2012, Ms. Stella James had visited hotel Le Meridien where Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly was staying to assist him in his work. This fact is not denied by Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly in his statement.” Further the Committee is of the considered view that the statement of Ms. Stella James, both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature) by Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on 24.12.2012 approximately between 8.00 P.M. and 10.30 P.M.”

    But the CJI’s order goes on to read that “considering the fact that the said intern was not an intern on the roll of the Supreme Court and that the concerned Judge had already demitted office on account of superannuation on the date of the incident, no further follow up action is required by this Court.” ( Courtsey:

    Where does one go from here?

  104. Newton once said that he was standing on the shoulders of giants. Most of those men that came before him were just as close to solving the problem of gravity as well but Newton happened to be the one to finally resolve the phenomenon in mathematical terms.

    Its a choice you have made. Whether you like to hear or not, you have chosen the whistleblowing path to solve the problem of discrimination and assault Another lady would have kicked him in the nuts, which the judge might never talk about outside. Yet another lady might instrument the scene the next time around with a webcam and completely expose his misbehavior. Now you need to go on to prove that this method of yours works and solves the problem, as opposed to the law, which also happens to be your profession, where by the way, you are going to find conflict. Make your method work, make it the norm. The world will come by your side.

    I am not your Dad or a friend to offer solace. I stay a neutral observer and I might have chosen the same path if put in your situation. I will never know.

  105. Well, sorry to say – that’s the real difference between graduated and educated. We are getting graduated but not educated. As soon as this incident happen, girls of your caliber who know law much better failed to take right steps, think about those girls/women never went to school. Now again sorry but people like you are more responsible the way society is right now. I bet this is not the first time that grim person tried to do to a girl. And guess what, he almost succeded few more months this time as well, till some of your friend pushed you to write about this. No consolation will help you to reach at the state of mind before the incident no matter how many candel we burn. Being that strong, If we dont have a courage to stand up to bully, we are doing more injustice to weaker people who need more hep!

  106. Stella James, you may not have wanted the SC enquiry. But, the fact that there was one and that your evidence was found to make a prima facie case for sexual harrassment (or whatever obfuatory term the SC used), means a great deal for women’s fight against mysogyny/sexism and the harrassement that is made possible by these. I am sure your male dominated profession will make things hard for you, I hope knowing that there are women out there who respect you for what you did, and will tell their daughters about Stella James, will help a little.

  107. Stella, you are a brave, beautiful, and courageous woman. Mostly importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone. I have met Justice Ganguly and had my own encounters with him and from the moment I read your story, I knew it was true. From Washington D.C., we stand with you. We know what you are going through is not easy, but you are strong for standing up to this. If I can ever help you, like with an internship with people who will respect your work and your dignity here in Washington DC, please let me know. If you are interested, please let me know where I can email you.

  108. What you have written in your blog, Ms. Ex-Law Intern, is good material for third rate novels but not convincing at all. You should gather your thoughts as a law student and take steps accordingly. Why did you not go to the police immediately and file a complain? Why blog? Think of the damage you have done to other female law interns. No male lawyer in his right mind will engage female interns after this. This will adversely effect the future of thousands of women engaged in other fields of occupation also. Add to this the draconian anti-rape/molestation laws of this godforsaken country. If I become an employer someday, I shall not engage a female employee, ever. It is better to be safe than sorry.

    1. Your answer Mr SB is absurd and ridiculous. Why not go to the police? You gave the answer yourself: because there are people like you who do not think and blame victims instead of having compassion.

  109. Dear Miss James,
    Though I am not a member of the legal system as you are and not that my opinions do matter.
    All my opinions are with due respect to your knowledge.
    However as a common person I have the right to reply to your “righteous proclamation” in my own manner.
    Firstly as a follower of newspapers I can say that one can never dare to question the apparently “impartial” decision of the Supreme Court which generally targets men as villains. Here while the (female) accuser’s name is surprisingly not revealed but the accused (proven or not) has his name image and reputation tarnished as he is hounded by cops and media facing degrading questions and deprecatory sneers and jeers alike. Perhaps someone as knowledgeable as your noble self will never understand the shame and fear that any respected person has to undergo when people find the police waiting outside his door-step.
    Secondly, Madam, every coin has two sides. How can we the public believe only your statement as we do not exactly know what happened within the hotel room behind closed doors? First and foremost we do not know whether this is some game-plan to malign a person (as there were obviously no cameras monitoring the incident) and secondly there might be endless possibilities to the story which I do not want to discuss.
    Duly respecting yet questioning the attempts and efforts of the highest law making body I can as an ignorant person in my lowest capacity can only request the legal system to provide equal opportunities to maintain the secrecy of a person whom you raise your finger at a person until he is proven guilty. (Oh and yes isn’t the law equal in spite of sexes? )
    Finally Supporting the views of Mr. Bhattacharya I do thank you for changing my views about women and think twice before employing women. And anyways women do have a lot of reservations ranging from bus and train to job sectors so I guess that won’t be a problem for feminists.
    Yes it is better to be safe than sorry.

    1. SC Committee headed by CJI has found Ganguly had made unwelcome and unpleasant actions. So your concern for Mr.Ganguly’s reputation would attack the conscience of any educated citizen.

      * Female accused is not surprisingly revealed – do you really want that happen? Any morality or decency left in India for poor Indian women?

      * You want to keep the person’s name guilty just because you think there might be some conspiracy theory behind this case. Only Tejpal has to be brought out of the jail to help ignorant persons in the lowest capacity give some video footage.

      * Unless and otherwise a person known to us is molested or harassed or jeered or abused in a train or bus even with reservations we will never really start to appreciate the plight of poor Indian middle class women. And going by your intentions of not giving job to women in your business, i think none of the women in your family would have to go through harrowing experiences that women from middle class families would have to undergo / undergone.

      1. Since the decision of the SC and not the process been brought out so there canbe no comments. Regarding the points by you
        * Yes why not ? If its a liberal country then accordingly everyone must be given a fair chance of secrecy and annonimity to save his image. What about morality and decency for Indian men? Or will they be termed as villains everywhere?
        * Regarding the Tejpal issue it was only on the person’s complaint that he was publicly summoned to court . So whether the act was consensual is still questionable. Not that it matters because he has been sent to rot and his image has been tarnished.
        *finally although unlike the rules you hv md a personl comment I would remind you that there have been instances where innocent men have been framed and adam teased in office but cannot approach the law as noone would believe them and hope sincerely that it doesn’t happen to any of the men from your family. So yes both men and women do undergo sad harrowing conditions but they must be given equal chances to defend.

  110. Dear Stella,

    This is Sourav layek from Indian institute of Technology,Guwahati want to tell something else which I realized myself needful to tell you.

    1> Please let me pardon if I am stating anything against the feelings and emotions.First of all it seems to me that this blog stated your experience about Justice A.K ganguly which all sort of political parties misused to keep him aside from his responsible position in human rights commission in west bengal led to resignation under improper situation.your feelings as well as bitter experience might be true but so far I am concern at last he is still a man of proper morality as well as dignity who served the nation through his service till now.

    2>Is there any wrong if you would urge Justice ganguly about the wrong perception and behavioral activities happened during that span and come up with a transparent press met and clarify all about the reality.

    3>please do it begging to you as a true citizen of this country and help to Mr.ganguly as well as to your family to stay peacefully in the future.

    Thanks and regards,


  111. After Stella James there is one more case which is made public, we read a shocking response from the Supreme Court ! Can we deal with a complaint made after 15 or 20 Years. There are hundreds of retired Supreme Court Judges in their eighties and nineties. Etc. these comments are unfortunate an shocking. The intern gathered guts only because the Supreme Court took Action in the first case of Ms James. If there are more cases they have to be dealt with by the Supreme Court . The Honble Supreme Court is not obliging the people of this country when the are enquiring into the conduct of their colleagues. It is their bounden and Constitutional Duty towards Society and the people who have put them up on the lofty pedestal. If another 5 or 10 or even more judges have misbehaved and interns or anybody complains it is their moral legal and Consitutional Duty to investigate and take action.

    1. “You are what you think you are , If you think yourself strong , You are !, If you think yourself weak, You are !!” There is no use of your education unless Your mind develops and you can not do anything which can change the society or world for betterment. By Letting anybody do against your wishes mean you are 50% partner in the crime.
      Come Up and avoid getting the society ruled by these scounderal by Raising a voice. Just remember Your voice can save further lives. Your silence mean your Agreement to let others ruin.

    2. Dear Nisha

      You have done the right thing by exposing him now. After he becomes the CJI no body would dare to do anything. Now am sure the SC cannot hide behind technical loopholes now . A Proper enquiry , similar to Stella has to be given to you also. Be brave and present your case with clarity, note down the sequence of events , dates and witnesses. I know its hard to relive the horror. But you have to do it . Am sure there are other interns who are still scared to come out because of fear of what would happen to them. Be an example like Stella . You have chosen the right path.You might not get Justice in the end of the day. But the very fear that young women have a medium to expose them, will restrain such men in power from doing such inhuman acts. “Where there is Dharma, victory will be there.”

  112. Three Cheers for the second molester judge A High court has granted him an injunction. The next step will be a show cause notice to the intern and they will put her in her place. What cheek making allegations against a Supreme Court Judge! The intern deserves punishment for tarnishing the image of the Supreme Court. And why not exemplary damages. After all the cream of Lawyers have sided with him and appeared for the Judge. So many legal luminaries cannot be wrong. Poor Justice Ganguly he did not play such strategy and faced an investigation. The Honble Supreme Court has powers to withdraw any proceedings from a High Court and transfer the same to itself in the interests of justice. This is a fit case so that no further time is wasted for the exoneration of the Judge. What a wonderful legal system we have. Judges and Lawyers take up their own cause and deliver instant justice! The intern may go to hell. The reputation of the Judges has to be protected. After all they deal with cases of rape and molestation themselves so they should not be equated with common criminals.

    1. Have courage beta. Not your cue to be ashamed, not at all. In the end justice is done by divinity, not just by arrogant judges.

        1. Not Valmiki, but karma. After all Sita was Ravan’s step-daughter and there was a lot of catching up remaining. [Reply to: Harmeet Singh Talwar’s comment # Divinity # Can seeta’a abduction be blamed on valmiki rather than ravana, ram, laxman…..??? # FB rawlatteemrah] Moreover, Sita got an opportunity to do penance in peace, something which was impossible in Ayodhya in the normal course and even more so in the company of Kaiikayee and Mantharaa. True, Ravan paid for the sin of constraining Sita against her wishes amounting to abduction with his life; but Ravan did not,could not and would not violate Sita bodily; and Ravan was willing to die at the hands of divinity. And the abduction served the purpose of allowing Sita into the care of loving Trijata who was Ravan’s guru; significantly, it also allowed Sita to finally meet her mother Mandodaree. Karma, almost divinity, just about one step short, but wholly a proper sub-set of divinity.

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