New Delhi: The former Supreme Court staffer who has accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment Wednesday expressed “some concerns” about the in-house apex court committee that is investigating her complaint, saying she will not receive “an objective and fair hearing”.
The in-house committee is headed by Justice S.A. Bobde, the second senior-most judge at the Supreme Court, and has as its members Justice N.V. Ramana, the third senior-most judge, and Justice Indira Banerjee.
In her written reply to the in-house committee’s notice issued to her, as first reported by LiveLaw, the woman has also expressed fears that her character has already been publicly damaged without the panel having heard her.
The former staffer has pointed out that she only found out about the three-member panel through news reports. She has also drawn attention to several lapses in the constitution of the committee. Quoting Vishaka guidelines and the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) Act (POSH Act), she has written that the committee is male-dominated and does not have any external member.
The complainant has further objected to Justice Ramana’s presence on the panel. In her reply, she has submitted that Ramana is a “close friend” of the CJI and “is like a family member to him”.
She has claimed that when she was posted at the residence of the CJI, Justice Ramana was a frequent guest there. “Because of this, I fear that my affidavit and evidence will not receive an objective and fair hearing,” her letter reads.
The woman has been directed to appear before the committee at 12:30 pm on 26 April.
‘Saturday’s hearing damaged my character’
Referring to the extraordinary hearing Saturday, where CJI Gogoi denied the charges levelled against him, the 35-year-old said she felt “frightened” and “helpless”. She said she felt aggrieved at Gogoi saying that this was “a bigger plot” to “deactivate the office of CJI”.
“My character was damaged as without any reason and without hearing me, it was said that I have criminal cases against me,” she has written, referring to the Saturday hearing.
She has added that she is now worried that her complaint will be declared “to be false” by the committee and other “senior law officers” without even hearing her side of the story.
She has further said that she is concerned by the statements made by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s blog also found mention in her reply. “Because of these events, I am very scared and feeling isolated and depressed,” she said in her reply.
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