Outrage after TN judge issues Dalit staff memo for "not washing undergarments properly"

A letter was sent to a Dalit court staff Rashmi asking her why she did not wash the Erode sub-judge's clothes properly
Outrage after TN judge issues Dalit staff memo for "not washing undergarments properly"
Outrage after TN judge issues Dalit staff memo for "not washing undergarments properly"
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A sub-judge in Erode has issued a notice to a woman court staff asking for an explanation for not washing clothes properly in his house. The woman staff replied by sending an apology, and the response and the judge’s notice have since gone viral on social.

The notice said, “You did not wash the clothes given to you for washing in the sub-judge’s house. You felt revulsions wash undergarments and threw them away. You also argued with the judge and his wife when asked about this.” Below is the letter sent to the Sathyamangalam 47-year-old Dalit court staff Rashmi (name changed) on February 1, 2016, asking for a response in the next seven days or else disciplinary action will be initiated against her. 

According to The New Indian Express, after this incident, the sub-judge’s wife also came to the court to argue with the court staff. Rashmi (name changed) said that she came to meet the sub-judge but he was not available. She showed the letter to the PA and he calmed her down.

In response to the notice, she wrote in the letter, “From now onwards, I will work properly and will not let any complaints come related to my work. Please forgive me and redeem me from disciplinary action.” The response is below. 

The judge Selvam told The Indian Express that he needs to check his files as it has been one month since the incident. When asked about making a court staff do domestic work is it wrong, he did not respond to the question.

Rashmi (name changed) told The New Indian Express that since then she has been working without having any conversations with his wife. She is a Class 10 pass out and has been working for the past nine years. She has to look after her ailing husband.

The judicial employees association in Tamil Nadu have decided to go to the Madras High Court after this incident in Erode.  The association said that they had verified the incident and are going ahead with the petition.

Such incidents are not unusual. In 2012, The Hindu had reported about an office assistant of the District Court in Madurai who claimed that she rarely assisted in office work. She claimed that she was asked to do sweeping and mopping in the judge’s house.

She had told The Hindu, “There are no fixed working hours. I am asked to report for duty at the judicial officers’ residence at around 6 a.m.and allowed to go back home only beyond 8 p.m. after preparing and serving dinner. As a government servant, I am entitled to weekly offs, casual leave as well as government holidays. But I cannot dare to claim them as my right. It all depends upon the generosity of the officer at whose residence I work.”

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