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Letter to BS: Supreme Court panel falters on transparency and fairness test

The procedure followed was substantially against the principles of natural justice

Business Standard 

In picture: CJI Ranjan Gogoi
CJI Ranjan Gogoi | File photo

This refers to the edit “Justice denied” (May 9). The way the chief justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi (pictured) and the Supreme Court (SC) have decided on the complaint of sexual harassment against the CJI might lead to unintended consequences. The procedure followed was substantially against the principles of natural justice. It would affect the institutional reputation of the SC, as the last hope of the aggrieved, seeking fair play and equitable justice. Besides, the reputation of the CJI himself as a man of impeccable character in personal and professional dealings might not be salvaged by the decision to keep the report under wraps. It could lead to speculative conclusion in favour of the complainant, the perception being “a staffer would not have complained against the CJI using a frivolous cause and there must be some indication of misdemeanour in the report”.

This was an unprecedented case requiring a precedent-setting approach to prove an institution’s objectivity. The CJI could have asked for the constitution of a complaints committee in which one member could have been chosen with the consent of the complainant. It can be done even now.

Y G Chouksey, Pune

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First Published: Thu, May 09 2019. 21:37 IST