CJI Ranjan Gogoi meets in-house panel probing sexual harassment allegations against him

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 01 May 2019, 10:29 PM
A letter of request was issued to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asking him to meet the committee. (File Photo)
A letter of request was issued to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asking him to meet the committee. (File Photo)

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday met the three-member panel, headed by Justice S A Bobde, looking into allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a former woman employee of the Supreme Court, an official source said.

"A letter of request was issued to the Chief Justice of India asking him to meet the committee and he responded to it and he met the committee on this issue," the source said.

Justice Bobde, who is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court after the CJI, is head of the panel and its two other members are women judges of the apex court - justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.

Earlier on Tuesday, the woman, who levelled the allegations, walked out of the inquiry committee, raising objections over various issues, including denial of her lawyer's presence.

A former top court employee dubbed as "very frightening" the atmosphere of the in-house inquiry committee and "walked out" raising various objections including denial of her lawyer's presence.

She said she was also "scared of her safety" as she was followed by two to four men while returning from the proceedings.

The woman, who issued the press statement after participating in the proceedings for three days before the three-member panel headed by Justice S A Bobde, also expressed apprehension that she was "not likely to get justice" from the panel which not only refused her request for presence of lawyer Vrinda Grover during the proceedings but also told her if she did not participate "they would proceed ex-parte".

She said the panel conducted the proceedings without video or audio recording and she was not even supplied with a copy of her statement recorded on April 26 and 29.

She claimed that the committee also did not inform about the procedure that was to be followed during the inquiry.

"I felt I was not likely to get justice from this committee and so I am no longer participating in the three-Judge Committee proceedings," she said, adding that the panel on Tuesday declined her request for summoning of Call Detail records and WhatsApp details of two relevant mobile numbers which made her helpless and distressed from participating before the panel.

"I was compelled to walk out of the committee proceedings today (Tuesday) because the committee seemed not to appreciate the fact that this was not an ordinary complaint but was a complaint of sexual harassment against a sitting CJI and therefore it was required to adopt procedure that would ensure fairness and equality in the highly unequal circumstances that I am placed."

The woman said she had hoped that the approach of the committee towards her would be "sensitive" and not one that would cause her further fear, anxiety and trauma.

First Published: Wednesday, May 01, 2019 09:21 PM
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