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Woman who accused CJI Gogoi of sexual harassment withdraws from panel probe

Former SC employee says she wasn't allowed a lawyer during proceedings, feels intimidated and nervous by three SC judges

Aashish Aryan  |  New Delhi 

In picture: CJI Ranjan Gogoi
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

A former employee, who has accused Chief Justice of India (CJI) of sexually harassing her, said Tuesday that she will not participate in the proceedings of the court's in-house committee probing her allegations.

The 35-year old woman, in a letter, said she had “serious concerns and reservations” about the committee comprising Justices S A Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra as members.

“I joined and participated in the committee proceedings in good faith on 26 and 29 April with the hope that this committee would proceed in a manner that is fair to me and sensitive to my circumstances," she said.

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The woman said that she had requested the committee to inform her about the procedure it will follow and allow her the assistance of a lawyer. She said she had also requested that the proceedings be video-recorded.

The woman alleged that she was told at the first hearing on April 26 that the committee was an informal proceeding.

“I was asked to narrate my account which I did to the best of my ability even though I felt quite intimidated and nervous in the presence of three honourable judge of the and without having a lawyer or support person with me,” she said, adding that she had been asked not to share the proceedings with her lawyer Vrinda Grover.

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During the second hearing on April 29, the woman said she was again not allowed to have a lawyer or support person by her side and repeatedly asked as to why she had made the complaint so late. The atmosphere of the committee, she said, was “very frightening” which made her nervous as she was being confronted by three judges.

The woman has also alleged that she had been followed by motorcycles on both April 26 and April 29, after she came out of the in-house committee hearing.

The former woman staffer had on April 19 sent a detailed affidavit to the residences of 22 judges of the Supreme Court, giving details of the alleged harassment. In her letter, the junior court assistant, who was employed with the Supreme Court from May 1, 2014, to December 21, 2018, alleged that she was harassed at the CJI's home, and that she was removed from her job without giving any reason.

She further alleged that following her termination, both her husband and his brother had been suspended as head constables posted with Delhi Police. She said her own brother, employed with the Supreme Court, was also terminated. This, she alleged, was a direct consequence of her not agreeing to the advances made by the CJI.

Supreme Court Secretary General S S Kalgaonkar has rejected the woman's allegations.

First Published: Tue, April 30 2019. 20:13 IST