A former junior court assistant accused CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual misconduct. She wrote an affidavit to 22 judges of the court giving details about the harassment she and her the family endured during her stint at the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: A former junior court assistant on Saturday accused Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment. The 35-year-old woman on April 19 sent a complaint to 22 judges of the apex court alleging that CJI Gogoi had sexually harassed her and then “victimized” her family and her.
The CJI rubbished the allegations and convened a special hearing in the matter with Justices Arun Misra and Sanjiv Khanna and said that another bench would be constituted, to delve into the matter, of which the CJI would not be part. Attorney General KK Venugopal expressed suspicions of conspiracy behind these allegations.
A visibly emotional CJI said that he had important cases to hear next week and there has been an effort to not let him hear those cases. The CJI said it was wrong to target the judiciary like this. “But this is my responsibility and hence a special bench has been constituted,” he added.
“There is nothing more valuable than respect. The only thing I have earned in my life is respect. The allegation against me is baseless,” CJI Gogoi said.
He also confirmed that the woman who made the allegation has a criminal background. When she had joined the service even then there were cases running against her. There are two cases against her husband as well.
The CJI said that his bank account just had Rs 6,80,000. He added, “My peon has more money than me.” The attorney general said that the case against the CJI could be a blackmail tactic.
In her complainant, the woman alleged: “The extension of victimisation has been such that apart from my services being terminated in December 2018, in the same month my husband and his brother, both head constable with the Delhi Police have been suspended. My husband’s other younger brother who was given a job in group D category in the Supreme Court under the Chief Justice’s discretionary quota in October 2018, was also terminated without giving any reasons in January 2019.”
The complainant also said that a “false” FIR, alleging that she took a bribe for offering jobs in the SC, was registered against her on March 3, 2019.
She requested a probe by a special enquiry committee of senior retired judges.
SC’s point-by-point rebuttal
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the SC dismissed the allegations saying that they were “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.
He has also said that the complainant, “given the nature of her duties”, had no occasion to interact directly with the CJI and suspected some “mischievous forces behind all this”.
“[She] was dismissed from service as per the procedure. Her brother-in-law was terminated as he was only a temporary employee at that stage and his performance and conduct were reported not to be satisfactory…”
“The motive behind these false and scurrilous allegations is obviously mischievous. As referred to in your letter, there is a criminal case pending against her, where a very serious allegation has been made, of her having a bribe to assure employment in the Supreme Court of India. It has been learnt that there is an application for the cancellation of bail earlier granted to her, which is listed for hearing on 20.04.2019 on account of her having made threats to the complainant of the said case,” said the secretary-general in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Bar Council of India strongly condemned the attempt to malign the image of the Chief Justice of India. “The allegations levelled by the lady against Hon'ble Mr J. Ranjan Gogoi are all false and concocted. The cock n bull story has been cooked up to plot some big conspiracy against the institution. Bar is fully standing with our C.J.I. and the Judges of Supreme Court. We appeal to the people and entire legal fraternity of the Country to stand with the Institution and save it. I have called an emergent meeting of the Council tomorrow to in order to decide the course of action in this regard. The delegation of Council will also meet the Hon'ble C. J. I. and other Judges to approve them of the views of the Council,” said senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra.
No ban on media reporting
While no ban has been imposed on the media reporting in the case, the SC advised the media to take a “responsible” call on the issue and ensure that without ensuring facts the independence of the judiciary not be tarnished.
The court said that no judicial order is being passed, but the media should ensure the independence of the judiciary and work responsibly.
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Last Updated 20, Apr 2019, 5:34 PM