The former Supreme Court employee who made allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that she is “highly disappointed and dejected” to learn that the in-house panel has given a clean chit to the CJI.
“I am alarmed at the conclusion arrived at by the in-house Committee, as my accusation of sexual harassment at the workplace and the consequent relentless victimization and reprisals against me and my family, are substantiated by documents and are verifiable,” said the complainant. In a statement, the woman said, “Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hopes of justice and redress from the highest court of the land have been shattered.”
In-house panel’s verdict
A three-judge Supreme Court panel comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee gave a clean chit to CJI Gogoi on Monday, stating that the committee found “no substance in the allegations”.
“The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising versus Supreme Court of India and Another 5 SSC 494, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public,” read a statement issued by the Supreme Court Secretary General.
In accordance with the procedure, the in-house committee submitted its report dated May 5 to the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the next senior judge, read a statement issued by the SC Secretary-General.
However, following the judgement, Indira Jaising using a hashtag #NotInMyName tweeted:
The Judgement came a day after The Indian Express on May 5 quoting sources published that Justice D Y Chandrachud along with Justice Nariman met the in-house panel on May 3 to ask the probe panel to not proceed with the probe ‘ex parte’ in the absence of the complainant, who has withdrawn from the proceedings on April 30.
The report by The Indian Express also mentioned that Chandrachud on May 2, wrote a letter to three judges asking for the inclusion of an external member to the committee also suggested three names of retired Justices Ruma Pal, Sujata Manohar and Ranjana Desai who, according to him, are all “apolitical and above board.”
However, the apex, in a statement on the same day, denied that Justice Chandrachud and Rohinton Nariman had met the in-house panel.
What is the case?
On 19 April 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 victimized and persecuted after she rebuffed his (CJI’s) advances on October 11, 2019.
Her affidavit says she was dismissed from her services on 21, December 2018. She further claims that her husband and brother in law had been suspended from their jobs on 28th December 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 14th, 2019.
She states 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 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 ‘apologized’ 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: CJI Appears Before Probe Panel On Sexual Harassment Case; Complainant Withdraws From Inquiry