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Thursday, February 20, 2020

SC reinstates woman employee who levelled charges at ex-CJI

The women staffer, who had withdrawn from the proceedings of the inquiry committee on the ground that she was not allowed legal representation, had expressed disappointment over the findings.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Updated: January 22, 2020 7:06:59 am
Ranjan Gogoi, Ranjan Gogoi sexual harassment charges, supreme court, Ranjan Gogoi cji, indian express news A female staffer had claimed victimisation for resisting unwelcome advances when she was posted at the residence office of former CJI Gogoi in October 2018. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Supreme Court has reinstated in service a woman staffer who had raised sexual misconduct allegations against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Highly placed sources told The Indian Express that she had joined duty and proceeded on leave. All her arrears too have been cleared, the sources said.

The woman, who joined the Supreme Court in May 2014, had claimed victimisation for resisting unwelcome advances when she was posted at the residence office of former CJI Gogoi in October 2018. She claimed she was later transferred and then terminated from service.

An inquiry into her complaint by an In-House Committee, comprising Justices S A Bobde (the current CJI), Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, had, however, “found no substance” in her charges and given a clean chit to the former CJI.

“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” a May 6, 2019 notice by the office of the Supreme Court Secretary General had said. It also said that “in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003) 5 SCC 494, 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.”

The women staffer, who had withdrawn from the proceedings of the inquiry committee on the ground that she was not allowed legal representation, had expressed disappointment over the findings.

Soon after the controversy erupted in April 2019, the office of the Supreme Court Secretary General had, in a statement, “denied” the charges, calling them “absolutely false and scurrilous”.

The woman staffer had also alleged that her husband and brother-in-law, both posted with Delhi Police, were suspended in the months after she was fired from her job.

In June 2019, The Indian Express reported that both her husband and brother-in-law had been reinstated in Delhi Police.

In March 2019, a case of cheating and criminal intimidation was filed against her over allegations that she had taken money from a man on the promise of getting him a job in the top court. The Delhi Police subsequently filed a closure report in the case which was accepted by the court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

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