The Supreme Court has started an emergency hearing ‘to deal with a matter of great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary.’ This was after former employee of the Supreme Court alleged that the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had sexually harassed her.
Here are the highlights:
- A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, J Arun Mishra and J Sanjiv Khanna says an appropriate Bench will hear the sexual harassment allegations against CJI (LiveLaw website)
- As my lord CJI is sitting we are not passing any judicial order at the moment. It is the wisdom of the media to publish it or not. – Arun Mishra dictating order (LiveLaw)
- I have to say this to the citizens of the country, Judiciary of the country is under serious threat. But regardless of that I’ll continue to function: CJI
- No judge is going to decide cases if this is the kind of attack we get. Reputation is only thing we get. Even that is attacked: CJI
- I am an officer of this Court, I was also under attack for defending the government: AG KK Venugopal (Bar and Bench)
- They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this This is the reward a CJI gets after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs. 680000. Independence of judiciary under very very serious threat. I had to tell this from the judicial seat: CJI
- Publishing name attracts a penalty under Section 16: SCBA President
- Surely this sounds like a blackmail technique: SG Tushar Mehta
- Rubbish being published: SG Tushar Mehta.
- Why would any sane person want to become a judge, reputation is all that we have. And that is also under attack: CJI Ranjan Gogoi (Bar and Bench)
- Things have gone too far. Judiciary cannot be made scapegoat: CJI
- CJI Gogoi said, “Last evening I received 4 communications from Wire, Leaflet, Caravan and Scroll, saying a letter is circulated by a dismissed SC employee alleging that CJI has sought sexual favours. Saying her family has been threatened, criminal cases against them. Secretary General has replied to them.”
- All I would like to say is this, undoubtedly every employees are treated fairly and decently. This employee was there for a month and half. Allegations came and I didn’t deem it appropriate to reply to the allegation: CJI (LiveLaw)
The 35-year-old woman, according to the Scroll website, had said that she was sexually assaulted by CJI Gogoi between 10 and 11 October, 2018. “He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go,” she wrote in an affidavit sent with a covering letter. “He told me ‘hold me’, he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away,” she said.
The former Supreme Court employee alleged that she was transferred thrice before dismissed from her job as she rejected sexual advancements by CJI Gogoi. She went on to allege that her husband and brother-in-law (both with the Delhi Police) too were faced serious consequences. Another brother-in-law, who was hired in the Supreme Court through CJI’s discretionary quota, too was sacked, she alleged.
In her letter addressed to the judges of the Supreme Court, the former employee said, “I was a junior court assistant in the Hon’ble Supreme Court from 1 May 2014 till 21
December 2018 when my services were unceremoniously terminated. With great regret and anguish I am having to address this letter to you, to narrate the sexual harassment and consequent victimisation that I and my family have had to go through and the facts and circumstances which disclose the reason why this happened. The extent of victimisation has been such that apart from my services being terminated in December 2018, the same month my husband and his brother, both head constables with the Delhi Police have been suspended.”
She continued, “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. Not only this, a false and frivolous FIR was registered against me on 31 March 2019(alleging that I took an advance of 50000 from a certain Mr. Naveen from Jhajjar, in the Supreme Court premises r offering him a job in the Supreme Court in 2017) on the basis of which I was arrested late night, shackled from my feet, my husband was beaten up in police custody and handcuffed (though he was not arrested) I was kept in police custody of one day and Judicial custody for one day. Consequently I was forced to obtain bail. There after an application has been made by the police for cancellation of my bail.”
The woman alleged that by this letter she was ‘requesting the Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court to constitute a special enquiry committee of senior retired judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to enquire into these charges of sexual harassment and consequent victimisation.’