'CJI Sexual Harassment Case A Systematic Failure': Retd SC Judge Says Due Procedure Not Followed In The Case

23 May 2019 2:08 PM GMT

On May 22, former Supreme Court judge Justice Chelameswar said that the apex court did not follow due procedure in handling the sexual harassment case against the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

Justice Chelameswar becomes the second retired SC judge after Justice Madan B Lokur to question handling of the CJI sexual harassment case.

“Concerned About Procedure Adopted”

While speaking to The Print, Retd SC judge Chelameswar said that he was worried by the ‘systemic failure’ in the judiciary. He further added, “No one is above the law, at least not in my opinion, and hence I don’t see why the procedure for this case should be any different from the law of the land.”

He further added that while he would refrain from commenting on whether allegations are true or false, he maintained that he was concerned about the system and the procedure.

He was also one of the four SC judges who held an unprecedented press conference last year to publicly raise the concerns about the handling of cases under then CJI Dipak Misra.

“Staffer Has Not Been Fairly Treated”: Justice Lokur

Earlier, another retired SC judge Justice Madan B Lokur, writing for The Indian Express said that he felt that the staffer was not fairly treated. He questioned the SC’s decision to not hand over a copy of the report by citing the earlier judgment in the case of Jaisingh vs Supreme Court of India.

Lokur also pointed out, “Please note, the Internal Committee was set up by a person charged of unwanted physical contact with a lady staffer and that person chose the judge to inquire into the allegation.”

He also said that it would have helped to uphold the credit of the SC if the advice of the Attorney General to constitute an outside committee of retired SC judges. “We have several eminent retired judges, including women judges. It would have been to the credit of the Supreme Court if the advice had been accepted, thereby negativing the belief of possible institutional bias,” he said.

What Was The Case

On April 19, 2019, an unnamed woman formerly employed as a Junior Court Assistant at the apex court and later at the residence office of the CJI alleged in a sworn affidavit said that Justice Ranjan Gogoi made sexual advances towards her on October 10 and 11, 2018. Only a week prior to this alleged incident on October 3, Justice Gogoi swore in as the 46th Chief Justice of India.

The affidavit also claimed that she and her family have been victimised and persecuted after she rebuffed his (CJI’s) advances on October 11, 2019.

Her affidavit says she was dismissed from her services on December 21, 2018. She further claims that her husband and brother-in-law had been suspended from their jobs on December 28, 2018, for previously ‘mutually resolved’ criminal charges. She also claimed that her differently-abled brother-in-law was dismissed from his temporary services at the Supreme Court on January 14, 2019.

She was further persecuted in March 2019 when Delhi police showed up at her ancestral home to take her back to Delhi to question her for a complaint lodged against her in 2017. The complainant alleges that she took a sum of 50,000 rupees from him and failed on her promise to secure a job for him at the Supreme Court.

She claims she even ‘apologised’ to Mrs Gogoi by prostrating at her feet with her nose touching her (Mrs Gogoi’s) feet on January 11.

The allegations, as reported by Scroll, also include that the CJI texted her on WhatsApp beyond official hours and later asked her to delete all messages transpired between them.

Also Read: Clean Chit To CJI Ranjan Gogoi In Sexual Harassment Case; Complainant Says She Is “Dejected And Terrified”

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