Published On: Mon, May 6th, 2019

CJI gets clean chit from judges panel in the sexual harassment complaint

New Delhi: A three-judge In-House Committee of the Supreme Court on Monday gave a clean chit to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment allegation levelled against him by a former court staffer.

A three-judge In-House Committee of the Supreme Court on Monday gave a clean chit to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment allegation levelled against him by a former court staffer.

“The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated 19.04.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India.

“Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs. Supreme Court of India and Anr file SCC494, it has been held that the Report of a Committee constituted as a part of the In-House procedure is not liable to be made public,” the Supreme Court Secretary-General said in a notice.

The notice also said that the Committee submitted its report on Sunday in accordance with the In-House procedure to the next senior most judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned namely the Chief Justice of India.

The report of the In-House Committee consisting of Justices SA Bobde, Indra Banerjee and Indu Malhotra seeks to bring the curtains down on the controversy that broke out more than a fortnight ago when a former woman court staffer who had worked in the home office of the CJI had complained to the judges of the Supreme Court that Justice Gogoi had made sexual advances to her.

As the news broke and set off a storm, the Chief Justice called an extraordinary sitting of a bench headed by him and called the allegations a big conspiracy against him. The bench also passed remarks debunking the complainant.

Later, the court constituted a three-member Committee consisting of Justices Bobde, NV Ramana and Indra Banerjee. Justice Ramana recused from being a part of the committee after the complainant sought his recusal saying he was close the CJI.
Justice Indu Malhotra replaced Ramana.

However, the constitution of the committee came under critisicm with a number of jurists and lawyer including women advocates saying the probe panel was not in accordance with the Visakha guidelines propounded by the apex court on the basis of which parliament had also passed a law.

While the Supreme Court has an in-house procedure for dealing with complaints, it has no precedent of nor a provision for dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment against the CJI.

Meanwhile, the woman complainant appeared before the three-judge panel and later walked out of it saying she was denied assistance of a lawyer or a “support person” to help her in presenting her case as she was not a legal person.

With the procedure adopted by the Committee attracting criticism, Justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court wrote to the judges in the Full Court to “remedy all the grievances” which led the woman complainant to withdraw from the probe on April 30.

On Sunday, the Secretary General denied that Justice Chandrachud along with Justice Rohinton F Nariman had met Justice Bobde to make the demand. However, he did not deny that Justice Chandrachud had written to all the judges in the Full Court.

ANI

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