A judge of a lower court in Tamil Nadu has found himself amidst huge controversy after it emerged that he had served a disciplinary notice to his female office assistant who refused to wash ‘the inner wear’ of his wife at his residence.
A report by Indian Express says that judicial employees association in the state is preparing to approach Madras High Court on this matter.
The office assistant in question is a 47-year-old Dalit woman, who the judge accused in his notice of “retorting in an arrogant tone” to his wife.
Judge D Selvam of Sathyamangalam court, in his memory dated 1 February, said, “Please explain within 7 days why disciplinary action should not be initiated against you for your failure to wash the inner wear which were put for washing in the Sub-Judge’s house, and for throwing them away disgustingly, and when your attitude was questioned by the officer and his wife for retorting in an arrogant tone.”
A shaken office assistant Vasanthy, who is the sole bread winner in the family as her husband is unwell, replied back three days later desperately pleading to be forgiven for this ‘lapse’ on her part.
Her reply said, “My humble explanation for the memo dated February 1, 2016, I humbly submit that I will guard against any lapses in the future and undertake to do my duties properly. I request that the disciplinary action against me may please be closed.”
Vasanthy has two school going daughters with she being responsible for bearing their education costs.
T Senthil Kumar, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Judicial Employees Association, said his body will file a petition before the registrar general of Madras High Court and Justice S Nagamuthu, the High Court judge who heads administrative affairs of judicial employees in the state.
Judge Selvam, for his part, said he cold not “react immediately” as the memo “was issued a month ago”.
He said: “I need to go back and check the file.”
He, howevet, chose to remain silent on being asked if he legally allowed to use an office assistant for washing his wife’s inner wear.
Vasanthy reportedly confirmed the incident but refused to comment, citing her “vulnerable condition”.
The court employees said that Vasanthy and other court staff continued to work at the judge’s house, doing menial jobs, including washing, cleaning and cooking.
“Ever since the judge took charge here last May, she has been posted at his home along with one more staff. They work there till 7pm. That day (February 1), the judge’s wife asked her to wash her inner clothes, she refused. The same afternoon, she was served the memo,” said sources.