File photo of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi | Manisha Mondal/ThePrint
File photo of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi | Manisha Mondal/ThePrint
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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Wednesday appeared before the in-house panel set up to look into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a former Supreme Court employee, and participated in the inquiry proceedings.

The CJI’s appearance comes a day after the complainant refused to participate in the proceedings, saying she found the “atmosphere of the committee very frightening”.

Sources confirmed to ThePrint that the in-house committee took the decision to continue the proceedings ex-parte and sent a notice to the CJI, to which he responded.

The meeting went on for two hours, sources said. Gogoi denied all the allegations, like he did earlier, and said there was no opportunity to meet the woman. A questionnaire was also provided to the CJI before he appeared in front of the panel.

The panel is expected to conclude its proceedings and submit its report soon.

Also read: Twist in CJI Gogoi story: Police wanted woman jailed despite Haryana man ‘not fearing her’

Complainant’s fears

The 35-year-old former SC employee had pulled out of the proceedings Tuesday.

“…I was very nervous because of being confronted and questioned by three Supreme Court Judges and without even the presence of my lawyer/support person,” she said in her statement to the press Tuesday.

The complainant’s decision came on the third day of the proceedings. In her statement, she said she was compelled to walk out because the committee did not seem to appreciate the fact that this was no ordinary complaint — this was a complaint of sexual harassment against a sitting CJI, and therefore, it was required to adopt a procedure that would ensure fairness and equality in the highly unequal circumstances she was placed in.

Last week, the Supreme Court constituted the in-house committee to look into allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Gogoi. The committee is headed by Justice S.A. Bobde — the second senior-most judge at the apex court, and includes Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. Justice Malhotra replaced Justice N.V. Ramana, who recused himself after the complainant accused him of being a close personal friend of the CJI.

The panel met the complainant last Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

Also read: Lawyer Utsav Bains says Prashant Bhushan ‘backstabbed’ him in CJI Gogoi controversy

With inputs from Aneesha Bedi

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