Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court--Mukul Mudgal has been accused of sexual assault by a family friend.
According to a report by The Print, the victim has allegedly accused Mudgal of forcing himself on her. Narrating her ordeal, she said, back in the 1990s, Mudgal had once come to her place at 11 pm and had asked for a cup of coffee.
“I wasn’t pleased about it, and that must have been some kind of basic instinct that I didn’t know how to read,” the woman, 59, told ThePrint, insisting that only Mudgal be named. “We weren’t ever taught that when a man asks to come into your home at 11 at night, and you don’t want him there, you say no," she added.
The woman alleged that when they were having coffee, Mudgal grabbed the cup from her, put it down on a surface nearby, and slammed her onto the bed in the room.
“He slobbered all over me…It was disgusting," the woman said. She added, “You know, when you’re pressed down by a man who is stronger than you and you’re trying to push him off with everything you’ve got, all you can manage is a grunt. You can’t even scream.”
“He didn’t go all the way. He didn’t rape me. But he did attack me.”
Sharing the "worst" that happened, the woman said when she looked into the mirror the next day, she found marks of scratches all over her her face and her body.
“When I saw myself the next day, I was covered in bruises. Even the exposed parts of my neck and shoulders were totally black and blue,” she said.
“I felt so ashamed, I remember thinking I had to cover the bruises that were exposed, and I wrapped myself up in a shawl,” she added.
The woman went on to say that her ordeal didn't end there, the next time she met Mudgal in a party, she tried to ignore him but somehow Mudgal kept on asking her why she was behaving differently.
“When I met him at my cousin’s house soon after, I ignored him and tried to go about my day. But I must have been acting strangely, because when we had a moment alone, my cousin asked me ‘Why are you behaving so badly?’ So, I unwrapped the shawl and showed him what Mudgal did," she said.
Justice Mukul Mudgal is a retired Indian judge of Delhi High Court, and remained Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2009 to 2011. He is currently the head of the FIFA Governance Committee and Review Committee.
However, speaking to The Print, Mudgal denied all the allegations terming them “utterly false and baseless".
“The alleged incident is said to have taken place more than 25 years ago. While I did have a few meals with her around that period, our friendship did not continue as I felt that we did not have much in common," he said.
Following the global outrage over the Harvey Weinstein incident in the West, where the noted Hollywood producer was accused of sexual harassment by over 70 women, the #MeToo movement entered India, engulfing the whole media and entertainment industry. Several women bravely came out with stories about harassment and sexual abuse at workplace at the hands of the powerful and higher-ups.
The movement gained steam in India after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta, in an interview, alleged that Nana Patekar misbehaved with her while filming a special song for Horn Ok Pleassss in 2008, many well-known comedians, journalists, and actors have been named and shamed on social media in the past few days as allegations of sexual misconduct continue to burst out.
Scores of women have come out with their accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of men from different walks of life.
The single biggest outcome of the movement to date has been the resignation of M.J. Akbar, who was minister of state for external affairs, after no less than 16 women came on record alleging sexual harassment by him in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of the alleged incidents occurred when he was a newspaper editor in New Delhi, well before he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Akbar has filed a defamation case against the first woman who named him, Priya Ramani.
The #MeToo movement, which began as a hashtag on Twitter in 2017 amid the Weinstein incident, has now become a global phenomenon.
(With inputs from agencies)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine