Updated: May 7, 2019 2:38:26 pm
Activists protesting against the clean chit given to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case were detained on Tuesday after they assembled outside the Supreme Court. Protesters have tweeted that they are being moved to Mandi Marg police station.
DCP PRO Madhur Verma said the women have been detained under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act for protesting outside the Supreme Court where Section 144 of the CrPC is imposed. She said they will be let off soon.
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said a total of 52 women and three men have been detained since 10.45 AM and told by the police that they will be released on ‘higher orders’.
“So women holding placards and protesting peacefully outside the Supreme Court against the ex-parte ‘clean chit’ to the CJI by the In-house committee of his colleagues, are arrested and taken to the police station. Does Constitutional right to protest not apply to the Supreme Court?” he tweeted.
AnnieRaja, AnjaliBhardwaj, KoninikaRay, MayaRao, GautamMody, NandiniRao, NandiniSundar, Vani&others-total 52 women& 3 men detained since 10:45 am. Police says they will be released only on ‘Higher orders’: All for protesting ‘In-house clean chit’ to CJI in sexual harassment case! https://t.co/a0D3Ix41Aq
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) May 7, 2019
On Monday, the in-house Inquiry Committee of the Supreme Court gave the CJI a clean chit in an ex parte report which will not be made public, inviting criticism from several quarters over its procedure in dealing with the matter.
The committee, comprising Justices S A Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra, wrapped up the inquiry in sittings over four days — three days were devoted to the questioning and recording the statement of the woman complainant who withdrew from the proceedings on the third day, April 30, saying she was being denied access to a lawyer and was “not likely to get justice from this committee”, and the fourth day had the CJI appearing before the panel.
In first remarks after the panel concluded they found “no substance” in her allegations, the complainant, in a statement, said “my worst fears have come true” and “am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the In-House Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India. I am now extremely scared and terrified because the In-House Committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely malafide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack”.
Soon after the report on the allegations was first published, a bench led by CJI Gogoi had put out an order signed by two other judges saying this was part of a “conspiracy”.
Subsequently, on an affidavit filed by advocate Utsav Bains, who had claimed there was a conspiracy by ‘fixers and disgruntled employees’ of the top court to “frame the CJI in a false case of sexual harassment,” a bench appointed retired Justice AK Patnaik to conduct an inquiry into the alleged conspiracy, assisted by the CBI Director, Director of Intelligence Bureau and Commissioner of Police (Delhi).
Bains has claimed that he was offered money to take up the case of a former junior court assistant, who has levelled sexual harassment allegations against the CJI, and to organise a press conference to make the matter public.
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