NEW DELHI: The in-house inquiry panel led by Justice S A Bobde which was examining the allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday rejected the charges against the CJI.
A statement from the secretary general of the apex court said the committee, comprising judges Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra as well, said, “The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising versus Supreme Court of India and another ruling, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public.”
The complainant had opted out from the proceedings after she was denied permission to bring her lawyer before the committee. Last week, CJI Gogoi had also appeared before the committee. Expressing disappointment at the panel’s decision, the complainant issued a statement through her counsel Vrinda Grover, “Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the committee has been shattered.”
According to legal experts, the complainant still has some legal options.SC advocate Rekha Agarwal said, “Complainant still has the option of filing a proper police complaint and also approach the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court under Article 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution seeking her fundamental rights and direction to the internal committee to give her a detailed hearing as per the Vishaka guidelines.”
Agarwal adds that the complainant in this case also filed a response to the committee’s report officially but since the committee has refused to make it public, this option seems to be difficult for her. The committee was set up after a former junior court assistant alleged she was harassed at CJI Gogoi’s home, and that she was removed from her job unfairly.
The 35-year-old woman also alleged that her husband and his brother were suspended from Delhi Police as part of a harassment campaign. SC lawyer K V Dhananjay said, “The complainant has the option of approaching the Delhi High Court under Article 226 and seek inquiry into the allegations against CJI Gogoi.”
He said since the in-house panel’s report has been handed over to Justice Arun Mishra, the senior-most after Justice N V Ramana recused, to submit it before the full court. “It is the sole discretion of the full court whether to accept the committee’s report or not ...,” Dhananjay said. The woman can also approach the Internal Complaints Committee led by Justice Indu Malhotra.
My worst fears have come true: Victim
Terming the in-house committee led by Justice S A Bobde inquiry committee giving a clean chit to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi over the allegations of sexual harassment against him by the former Supreme Court employee as gross injustice and said she is highly disappointed and dejected.
She said gross injustice has been done to her as a woman citizen of India and her worst fears have come true shattering all hopes of justice and redress from the highest Court of the land.
“Today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the capacity of our system to deliver justice to the weak and vulnerable who are pitted against the powerful within the system itself,” she said, adding that the panel refused her plea to allow her to accompany a lawyer and video record the proceedings.
“I am now extremely scared and terrified because the in-house committee, despite having all material placed before them, has given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely mala fide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack,” the former court employee said
“Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the highest Court of the land have been shattered,” she added.