CJI Ranjan Gogoi
File photo of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The woman staffer who had accused former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual misconduct last year has been reinstated in her job at the Supreme Court, and has proceeded on maternity leave.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was part of her legal team, confirmed this. “She has been reinstated from the time she was terminated,” he said. “She hasn’t, however, reported for work and proceeded on maternity leave immediately.”

The SC employee has been provided her salary as well and no charges are pending against her in the court records. She was a junior assistant II and has been reinstated in the same position with retrospective effect. Sources in the SC’s registrar office told ThePrint that she was officially brought back earlier this month.

Members of her extended family, however, told ThePrint that while she may be satisfied that she got her job back and her salary, she was unhappy with the manner in which the court’s internal committee carried out investigation in the case.

While the woman wasn’t available for comment, ThePrint has learnt from highly placed sources that she might even resign, and it wasn’t clear if she would even join back work once her maternity leave is over.

Her services had been terminated on the grounds that she had overstepped in questioning her transfers and had taken leave without authorisation.

The woman had challenged her dismissal.


Also read: How will CJI Ranjan Gogoi’s legacy impact the Supreme Court?


The sexual harassment case

The woman had in April 2019 alleged she was sexually harassed by the then CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, when she was working as a junior court assistant in October 2018. In a representation sent to Supreme Court judges, she had detailed these allegations while seeking an inquiry against Gogoi.

In her representation, she cited continued harassment against her and her family as the reason for seeking an inquiry. She also complained that a false case of bribery was filed against her owing to her having resisted the alleged sexual advances.

On 20 April, a special three-judge bench of the Supreme Court was convened to look into the matter of “grave public importance” touching upon the independence of the judiciary.

Its focus, however, remained on whether there was a conspiracy to frame the former CJI and undermine judicial independence. A Chandigarh-based lawyer, Utsav Bains, had made allegations in this regard.

A court-appointed committee headed by Justice (retired) A.K. Patnaik had stated that the alleged conspiracy to frame Gogoi required further inquiry. Following this, an in-house panel of Justices S.A. Bobde (the current CJI), N.V. Ramana and Indira Banerjee was constituted to look into the matter.

Justice Ramana eventually recused from the panel after concerns were raised regarding his presence. He was replaced by Justice Indu Malhotra. The panel, however, concluded that there was no substance to the sexual misconduct allegations levelled by the woman.

The complainant eventually withdrew from the proceedings on the third day, claiming the investigation wasn’t being conducted in a “fair manner”.

After the inquiry panel gave a clean chit to the former CJI, she also raised concerns and protested against not being provided with a copy of the panel’s report.

The SC staffer had also alleged that her husband and brother-in-law, who were constables with the Delhi Police, were suspended following the termination of her services on 21 December 2018. The family members were reinstated in June 2019.

(With inputs from Debayan Roy)


Also read: Justice Chelameswar says due process not followed in CJI Gogoi sexual harassment case


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. LESSON: No action must be taken if a woman merely accuses some body without concrete proof . Nowadays women are becoming notorious and using law to frame innocent.

  2. Had this sequence of unfortunate events taken place in some other work place, unlikely the apex court would have been so indulgent.

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