Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi is under the scanner yet again, after the former Supreme Court staffer who had earlier levelled charges of sexual harassment against him has decided to make a fresh appeal against him to the CJI himself. This comes close on heels after her case was dismissed by the apex court a few days back.
“The complainant will be filing an appeal to Gogoi himself,’’ her lawyer and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said. “The appeal [mechanism] is available under the service rules.”
In an affidavit dated April 19, the employee, who was posted at the home office of the CJI, detailed charges of sexual harassment and persecution. The affidavit was sent to 22 judges of the apex court.
In the affidavit, she has mentioned that the CJI behaved inappropriately with her twice, on October 10 and 11, 2018. However, the CJI has denied the charges and called them an attack on the judiciary.
The complainant also stated that the CJI’s behaviour changed drastically after she resisted his advances and then began what she called her “persecution”. She was transferred out of the CJI’s home office and posted in the Centre for Research and Planning. After this, her seat was changed to the Admn (Administrative) Material Section.
She has also stated the process of how disciplinary action was initiated against her when she had applied for leave to attend her daughters school function.
She was issued a memorandum on November 19, telling her that she had rendered herself liable for action under provisions of the Conduct Rules. Even though she replied, she was transferred to the Library Division.
The complainant was served with a suspension order soon after and informed that disciplinary proceedings were being contemplated against her. An inquiry was initiated under the Supreme Court Officers and Servants (Condition of Service and Conduct) Rules, 1961, for “questioning the decision of senior officers and thereby acting in a manner prejudicial to discipline.”
The complainant was dismissed from service on December 21.
On May 6, the SC set up a three-member in-house panel to probe the charges of sexual harassment levelled by and concluded that “there was no substance” to her complaint.
Earlier, when the charges were levelled against the CJI, he convened a special bench of the Supreme Court and called the allegations of sexual harassment “an attack on the independence of the judiciary.” He also said there was an attempt to “destabilise the office of the CJI.”