New Delhi: The woman who accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexually harassing her is expected to challenge her dismissal before the Supreme Court or the Delhi High Court in the next two days.
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is part of the 35-year-old’s legal team, said she has also decided to seek compensation for the loss of her job, the alleged mental trauma and physical injuries suffered, as well as the “human rights violations” inflicted on her through “wrongful arrest, incarceration, and cuffing”.
The move comes days after CJI Gogoi was given a clean chit in the matter by a three-judge Supreme Court panel comprising S.A. Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra, who said they had found “no substance” in the woman’s allegations.
The woman, who had walked out of the in-house hearing after three appearances claiming she was “very frightened”, had said she was “shattered and dejected” by the panel’s decision. On Tuesday, she had demanded a copy of the report, which has not been made public.
According to the woman, she was posted at CJI Gogoi’s home office when he allegedly sexually harassed her in October last year. She claimed in a letter to 22 Supreme Court judges last month that Gogoi dismissed her and got her husband and brother-in-law fired from Delhi Police after she rejected his advances.
Other legal options
The woman has limited legal options to take the matter further as the CJI has been cleared of sexual harassment charges by the in-house panel.
She could file a criminal complaint, but would require the President’s permission.
“According to the Veeraswamy judgment, the SC laid down that no FIR, regarding any offence, can be registered against a judge without the prior permission of the chief justice,” said Bhushan.
“As for the Chief Justice of India, the permission would have to be taken from the President after consulting other such judges as maybe deemed fit,” Bhushan added.
Permission from the President would also be required if a complaint is filed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
However, the lawyer added that this course is unlikely to fructify, citing the failed motion for former CJI Dipak Misra’s impeachment that was moved by the opposition last year.
Another option the woman has is to challenge the criminal case filed against her by Jhajjar resident Naveen Kumar, who has accused her of conning him of money on the promise of a job in the Supreme Court.
The woman’s allegations of sexual harassment have propelled the top court into an unprecedented crisis, with an advocate subsequently claiming that the charges stemmed from a bid by “judgment fixers” to unseat the CJI.
Get the PrintEssential to make sense of the day's key developments