Thursday, 26 May, 2022
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SC panel clears CJI Gogoi of sexual harassment charges, says ‘no substance’ in them

Supreme Court’s In-House Committee submits report to next senior judge. Move comes over 2 weeks after former SC employee levelled the charges against CJI Gogoi.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s In-House Committee, led by Justice S.A. Bobde, has cleared Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of the sexual harassment allegations that were levelled against him by a former top court employee.

In its report submitted Sunday, the panel said it found “no substance” in the allegations.

The panel report was submitted to the next senior judge competent to receive it, said a press statement released by the court Monday.

The clean chit to the CJI comes after an Indian Express report noted “disquiet” among the judges of the top court. The Express reported that Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, slated to be the CJI in 2022, had written to the panel suggesting that the proceedings be halted since the complainant in the case had walked out of the inquiry.

Last week, the complainant refused to participate in the inquiry after she found “the atmosphere of the committee very frightening”.

The committee constituted by a full court resolution comprised Justices Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. Malhotra replaced Justice N.V. Ramana — the third senior-most judge in the top court — who recused himself after the complainant accused him of being a close personal friend of the CJI.

Allegations and proceedings

On 19 April, the former employee of the Supreme Court alleged that she was sexually harassed by CJI Gogoi while she was posted at his residence.

Within days, the court constituted an In-House Committee to look into the allegations.

As she walked out of the proceedings last week, the complainant said, “…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”.

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.

On Wednesday, a day after the complainant left the proceedings, the panel continued “ex-parte” and issued a notice to CJI Gogoi who responded to it.


Also readIs Supreme Court handling sexual harassment allegation against CJI Ranjan Gogoi correctly?


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. What possible justification could there be for not giving the complainant a copy of the Report ?

  2. A sensible decision. The judiciary has courageously refused to become a victim of legal blackmail done by certain section of civil society. If the concerned lady still feels aggrieved, she should approach the parliamentarians to initiate impeachment process ( an unthinkable possibility) or wait for the CJI to retire. One thing is certain, no one in the judiciary including this committee, has powers to act against the CJI. This power is vested only with the Parliament. This is the secret doctrine of seperation of powers. The Judiciary cannot adjudicate itself, nor in the least the CJI. Still, to preserve its institutional integrity, the Judiciary had formed this panel. But it seems that a certain section of legal and civic society will not settle for anything less than a conviction, irrespective of the facts and evidence. It is better to ignore them.

  3. Not a graceful denouement. The dictum of justice being seen to be done does not appear to have been followed fully in spirit.

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