CJI Appears Before Probe Panel On Sexual Harassment Case; Complainant Withdraws From Inquiry
A day after the former Supreme Court staffer withdrew from the administrative panel, which is probing allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the CJI appeared before the in-house committee led by Justice Sharad Bobde on May 2.
According to sources, the panel had asked the CJI to appear before for the in-camera proceedings in regard to the allegations leveled against him, reported The News Minute. Earlier, stating a harsh approach by the three-member in-house committee formed to look into allegations of sexual harassment made against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, the former Supreme Court staffer withdrew from the inquiry panel.
“I had hoped that the approach of the committee towards me would be sensitive and not one that would cause me further fear, anxiety and trauma,” the 35-year-old woman wrote in a press release.
Last week, an administrative panel comprising Justice SA Bobde, Justice Indira Banjeree and Justice Indu Malhotra was set up to look into the allegation made by her.
Calling for an inquiry against Justice Gogoi, on April 19 the complainant had written an affidavit to 22 Supreme Court Judges alleging that not only she was harassed but was also faced subsequent victimisation, which led to her and other members of her family losing their government jobs, as well as criminal cases being filed against them, reported Scroll.in.
Citing persistent harassment by the sitting judges she stated, “the committee seemed not to appreciate the fact that this was not an ordinary complaint but was a complaint of sexual harassment against a sitting CJI and therefore it was required to adopt procedure that would ensure fairness and equality in the highly unequal circumstances that I am placed.” Former Supreme Court employee further alleged that she was constantly followed by unidentified men on motorcycles after each proceeding.
Despite explaining that she had lost hearing in one ear completely due to stress and was undergoing daily treatment for the same, her request for accompanying a person of her assistance was denied and her requests for video or audio recording of the proceedings denied as well.
In the press release, she mentioned that she was repeatedly asked to explain why she chose to report about the incident, several months after it happened.
“I was repeatedly asked by the committee as to why I had made this complaint of sexual harassment so late. I found the atmosphere of the committee very frightening, and I was very nervous because of being confronted and questioned by three Supreme Court Judges and without even the presence of my lawyer/support person,” she said.