Today, the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. The story was broken by Scroll.in and several other Left to far Left portals. In her affidavit, the woman has reportedly stated that her sufferings have become unbearable and there is now an imminent danger to her life. She has requested the judges of the SC to form an inquiry committee to look into the matter.
The woman’s affidavit reportedly reads, “He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go. He told me ‘hold me’, and he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
Attorney General KK Venugopal and SG Tushar Mehta were present in the Court along with the President and members of the Supreme Court Bar Association were present.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that today, The Scroll, Leaflet, The Wire and The Caravan have published detailed reports on sexual harassment charges levelled against him. He received detailed communication from the four organisations yesterday. The communication said that a former employee has levelled allegations of sexual harassment and says she is being threatened and that the Secretary-General has responded to the publications.
The CJI said, “All I would like to say is this, undoubtedly every employee are treated fairly and decently. This employee was there for a month and a half. Allegations came and I didn’t deem it appropriate to reply to the allegations”.
He said that this lady has a criminal background and has two FIRs lodged against her already. There are criminal FIRs against her husband as well. The state has in fact filed cancellation of bail application which is up for hearing today and how a lady with a criminal background got employed in the Supreme Court is a question that has been posted to the Delhi Police. CJI said that the lady who is alleging harassment now was also arrested in connection with some FIRs.
CJI said, “After 20 years of selfless service. It is unbelievable …With a bank balance of 6,80,000 that is in my bank account. This is my total asset. When I started as a judge, I have much hope. On the verge of retirement, I have 6 lakhs”.
“They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this”, said CJI.
CJI Gogoi also added that there are only two offices in the country which are completely independent- the PMO and the office of the CJI.
The CJI then alleged something grave. He said that this could not be the “plot” of a junior assistant but there is something larger at play here. The plot seems to be that of attempting to deactivate the Judiciary and the seat of CJI.
He said he has to tell the citizens of India that the judiciary is under serious threat and with such plots, good people will never come to the Judiciary, however, he will still carry on with his job. He added that this issue (of sexual harassment charges) won’t be considered by him but senior most judges and his brothers.
SG Tushar Mehta said that this surely sounds like a conspiracy and that “rubbish was being published”. AG Venugopalan chimed in saying that according to the law, names cannot be published but they were.
The CJI responded by saying that it was his responsibility to take this unusual measure to convene this sitting and hence, he has taken this step.
Attorney General KK Venugopalan said that as an officer of the Court, he too is under attack and he being constantly attacked for defending the Government of the day.
In fact, when Attorney General spoke about being under attack, the Chief Justice, Ranjan Gogoi also said that no judge would want to preside on cases if this is the kind of attack that they have to face especially because for officers of the court, reputation is all that they have and even that is being attacked.
Interestingly, the CJI said that he was to hear important matters next week and this is an attempt to dissuade him. Next week the CJI is scheduled to hear contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi, the release of the film on PM Modi Biopic, and also the petition seeking deferment of polls in TN on the charge of huge bribes being paid to voters.
In April 2018, senior advocate Harish Salve had incidentally mentioned that Congress is going to use the Judiciary to destabilise the Government of India. After the Supreme Court had dismissed the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Judge Loya, which was also furthered by the Caravan Magazine and other leftist portals, the Congress party had hit back at the Judiciary. They had initiated impeachment proceedings against the then Chief Justice of India and attacked the Judiciary for lack of impartiality. Vice President had written scathing observations rejecting the impeachment motion moved by Congress against the CJI at the time.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi himself had come down hard on lawyers who had filed review petitions against the judgement giving clean chit to the Rafale deal. He had said that lawyers who filed the review petitions were going to the media for publicity instead of fixing flaws in their own petitions. CJI Ranjan Gogoi had given a clean chit to the Rafale case. On December 14 the Supreme Court had dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the Rafale deal saying that there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision-making process” requiring the setting aside of the contract. Petitions seeking the filing of the FIR and a court-monitored probe into the alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal entered into between India and France were rejected by the Apex Court. The CJI had also come under heavy attack by the Congress ecosystem for giving a clean chit to Rafale.
Only a few days ago, Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Monday issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi and sought an explanation from him for his comments after the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. Rahul Gandhi had distorted the SC order while talking to the media, and said that Supreme Court has accepted that there is some form of corruption in Rafale deal and that “chowkidaar ne chori karwayi hai”. The Supreme Court observed that it had on “no occasion” made any comments as attributed by Gandhi and that the judgment was solely on the legal question of admissibility of documents produced by review petitioners. The top court has asked Rahul Gandhi to reply by April 22.