In her complaint detailing allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, the 35-year-old junior court assistant has said that the two grounds cited by the inquiry officer that led to her services being terminated were: approaching an official of the Supreme Court to influence the branch officer to change her seating in the admin material section, and being absent from duty for a day because she had to attend an exhibition in her daughter’s school.
The complainant, who joined the Supreme Court in May 2014 as a junior court assistant, has mentioned nine officials posted at the court, a driver who dropped her to the nearest metro station on the directions of CJI Gogoi after work, and two neighbours who informed her about a police officer inquiring about her family.
She has annexed with the complaint medical evidence from the time she was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital during the inquiry, and her consultation with a neurologist at AIIMS after being terminated from service.
In her 28-page complaint, she has alleged that on October 10 and October 11, 2018, the CJI made sexual advances in his residence office, where she was posted, and touched her inappropriately.
She has claimed that she was transferred multiple times after the alleged incident, and on December 21, 2018, she was suspended from service in connection with an inquiry initiated against her for questioning the decisions of senior officers regarding change of her postings, and for taking leave without authorisation.
She has also alleged that after the alleged incident, in the evening of October 11, 2018, she “received several phone calls” from an official from the admin department of the Supreme Court Registry, and from another senior official.
“That same night when I regained my senses and was able to think clearly, I called the CJI on his phone because I wanted to tell him that I could not work with him any longer. He did not receive my call. Instead he made his personal secretary call me to tell me not to disturb Justice Gogoi at night. Though till then it was normal for him to WhatsApp and call me at odd times,” she has claimed.
According to the complainant, in October 2016, when one of the regular junior court assistants posted in the court of Justice Gogoi had gone on leave for his marriage, she was sent to work with Justice Gogoi.
She has claimed that after the first meeting, “either Justice Gogoi’s staff” would call her, or “he himself would summon me to his chamber to provide judgments/books”. She has also claimed that the “staff who used to work in Justice Gogoi’s residence office” would call her to ask her to keep certain judgments ready at 8 in the morning.
She has claimed that Justice Gogoi asked her to bring her husband to meet him on July 31, 2018, at his residence. She has claimed that “one morning” Justice Gogoi called her into his chamber, and asked her why she didn’t answer his calls. She has claimed that he made her show him “the call logs on mobile phone”.
“He kept insisting he called me, then I told him that I have a setting on my mobile phone which blocks calls from unknown numbers. On hearing this, he tried calling me again from his phone in front of him to check if what I was saying was true. On seeing that his call did not go through to my number, he finally believed me and told me to save his number,” she has claimed.
She has claimed that Justice Gogoi would call her into his office room and “make me show him my phone and make me delete the WhatsApp messages between us”. “Since the WhatsApp messages between us also included certain instructions he gave me about confidential work etc, I assumed that he did not want any messages to remain on my phone. Despite that, I found it strange but I felt I did not know enough and since he was extremely encouraging and supportive of my work,” she has said.
She has claimed that two other officers were also posted in the residence office; both were shorthand staff, and one another officer came in the afternoon shift.
Meanwhile, the office of the Supreme Court secretary-general said on Saturday that it had recieved “emails from 4 media houses, i.e. Leaflet, The Wire, Caravan and Scroll.in requiring a response in less than 24 hours”. In response, the court “denied” the charges, terming them “absolutely false and scurrilous”.
The concerned woman employee, the secretary general’s office said, was posted at the CJI’s “residence office” where “at any point of time, there were atleast 5-6 others present as part of the home office of the CJI”. She worked there “only for a short period and as informed, given the nature of her duties, she had no occasion to interact directly with the Chief Justice of India”, it said.
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