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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Swatanter Kumar, a retired apex court judge and chief of National Green Tribunal (NGT), in a case of alleged sexual harassment of a female intern.

A bench headed by Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and apex court judges Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F. Nariman asked Kumar, being represented by lawyer K.K. Venugopal, to respond to the notice in four weeks.

The intern has requested a transfer of the case out of the Delhi high court. She has alleged that if the case is tried in Delhi, there is a “likelihood of bias" as Kumar wields influence among both the “bar and bench".

Lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing for the intern, said there was a reasonable apprehension of bias and attempted intimidation by the retired judge, who was represented by more than 20 lawyers in a Delhi high court defamation case.

The defamation and injunction suit was brought by Kumar against certain media houses and the intern for publishing news regarding the sexual harassment charges, which he claims were “baseless, fraudulent and motivated".

A 16 January order restrained the media from publishing content which “highlights the allegations" against the retired Supreme Court judge, although “fair reporting" of court proceedings was allowed.

The intern’s plea is to have the case moved to a court of competent jurisdiction in Karnataka.

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