Updated: May 6, 2019 8:06:18 pm
A former Supreme Court staffer who had accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment said “her worst fears have come true” and that “gross injustice has been done (to her) as a woman citizen of India” after a three-member SC panel gave a clean chit to the CJI, concluding that they found no substance” in her allegations.
An in-house committee, comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, had submitted its report ex-parte as the woman had opted out of the inquiry on April 30 after participating for three days. “The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and Anr (2003), it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public,” said the notice by the office of Supreme Court Secretary General.
Reacting to the development, the complainant in a press release said she was ‘highly disappointed and dejected’ with the panel’s report. The complainant said she has not been provided with a copy of that report “and so I have no way of comprehending the reasons and basis for the summary dismissal of my Complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation.”
“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,” she said adding, “today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the idea of justice”.
Last week, the complainant chose to withdraw from the probe but the inquiry panel had decided to proceed with the case “ex parte” or carry on in her absence.
The complainant said that she was “compelled to walk out” because the judges who were part of the panel did not seem to appreciate the fact that “this was not an ordinary complaint but was a complaint of sexual harassment against a sitting CJI” and refused to allow a lawyer or support person to accompany her during her deposition.
In her 28-page original complaint, the woman had alleged that on October 10 and October 11, 2018, the CJI had made sexual advances in his home office, where she was posted, and touched her inappropriately.
She had said that after she resisted his “sexual advances”, she was fired and her husband and brother-in-law, both posted with the Delhi Police as head constables, were subsequently suspended. CJI Gogoi had called the allegations “unbelievable” and said he wouldn’t even dignify them with denial.
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”.
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