Case Summary

CJI SEXUAL HARRASSMENT CASE

FACTS 

The sexual harassment charges were frame against the former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, in late April 2019.

  • A woman who is a former court officer alleged that she was sexually harassed by the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi (at time of allegations he was the Chief Justice of India) 
  • She wrote a letter to 22 Supreme Court Justices and submitted a document to prove her claims.
  • She also complained that a false case of bribery was filed against her owing to her having resisted the alleged sexual advances.

COMMITTEE

By taking Suo moto cognizance of the matter, On the next day, on 20th April 2019 looking like the matter to be of great public importance, a special three-judge bench was set up by the Supreme Court comprise of the Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, and Deepak Gupta. A court-appointed committee headed by Justice (retired) A.K. Patnaik had stated that the alleged conspiracy to frame Gogoi required further inquiry. 

PANEL

An in-house panel was set up by CJI Ranjan Gogoi comprising S.A. Bobde (the current CJI), N.V. Ramana and Indira Banerjee to look into the matter. This committee had to examine the claim made by Advocate Utsav Bains.

Claims of Advocate Utsav Bains

  • He claims that the allegations made by a former Junior Officer of the Court alleging sexual harassment by the Chief Justice of India are fabricated and motivated by a larger conspiracy to undermine the independence of the judiciary by corporate persons and corrupt political leaders.

Further, Women raised voice for the unfair constituted committee as, that Ramana and Gogoi had a good friendship relation, so Justice Indu Malhotra replaced him.

In a letter penned by the complainant, it was stated that the close relationship shared by Justice Ramana with CJI Gogoi might not allow for an objective hearing of her side. 

The complainant withdrew from the proceedings on the third day, claiming:

  • The investigation wasn’t being conducted in a “fair manner”.as complainant not allowed her lawyer during proceedings.
  • She also raised concerns and protested against not being provided with a copy of the panel’s report.
  • No video and audio recordings were allowed during the proceedings.
  • She was not informed about the committee procedure.

HELD 

  • The supreme court releases the statement which states as “The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising versus Supreme Court of India and Another 5 SSC 494, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public.”
  • The in-house panel gave the former Justice Ranjan Gogoi a clean chit.
  • The panel, however, concluded that there was no substance to the sexual misconduct allegations levelled by the woman. 
  • The court also closed the cheating case which was registered against the woman and in June 2019, her husband and brother-in-law were reinstated by the Delhi police.

In an interview to The Wire, the woman said she had “lost everything” ever since she decided to speak up about her allegations. “I was completely disheartened and Shocked. I have lost my job; I have lost everything. My family members have lost their jobs. So, I felt it was a great injustice to my family and me. We were all shocked to learn that they just said there is “no substance”, women said.

Submitted By: Deepanshi Dwivedi 

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