Indian chief justice accused of sexual harassment

Indian chief justice accused of sexual harassment
India's top judge faces sexual harassment storm
Author

21 April, 2019

"This is the reward a Chief Justice of India gets after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs. 6.8 lakh", he said in today's hearing.

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Under the Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations of 2013, it is again the CJI who sets up the Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee.

A former court officer who worked from Gogoi's home office between August and December 2018 has accused the CJI of making sexual advances adding that when she resisted, she was unceremoniously terminated.

Chief Justice Gogoi alleged a conspiracy behind the allegations and said, "There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice".

Refuting to the allegations, the CJI said there is some bigger force behind the woman who made sexual harassment charges and called them baseless. How did she enter supreme court service when there was criminal case pending?

Though the CJI was heading the bench, he left it to Justice Mishra to take a call on passing a judicial order.

The Supreme Court has asked the media to exercise restraint and wisdom in reporting unverified charges against CJI, which would undermine independence of judiciary.

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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". No one catch me on money, they have to look for something else, the Justice also said.

The Supreme Court, one of India's most respected institutions, has 25 judges appointed by the president, including the chief justice. He, however, named the four web portals that ran the story and said that a common thread ran among them. If the judges are to be vilified like this, why would any good person want to become a judge? "I had to tell this from the judicial seat", CJI Gogoi reportedly said in his defence citing that he had less than ten hours to present his defence.

The law officer said as judges can not go to the press or communicate to the public, the "CJI wanted to justify himself" and "made the remarks while sitting on the bench which should be given publicity". "I will do that", he said.

A three-judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna had a special siting at 10.30 am on Saturday to deal with a matter of "great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary". Thereafter false criminal cases have been lodged against her.

The woman, who earlier worked at the home office of the Chief Justice, is now on bail and Delhi Police had moved a district court earlier this month, seeking its cancellation, officials said.

"No doubt, it is a malafide allegation", he said.


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