Lawyer to Chief Justice Gogoi: You Abused the Chair You Hold

Justice Ranjan Gogoi sworn in as the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India (file photo). Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan
Justice Ranjan Gogoi sworn in as the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India (file photo). Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan

While Gogoi is trying to hush the case up, a group of activists and writers issued a joint statement seeking an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against Gogoi.

By Rakesh Raman

The sexual harassment case in which Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi is an accused has become hot potato. The chattering classes of India are up in arms as Gogoi decided to become the judge, jury, and executioner in a litigation in which charges are against him.

A former woman employee of the Supreme Court has leveled serious allegations of sextortion against Gogoi. In an affidavit that she sent to 22 judges of the court on April 19, 2019, the woman claims that she is a victim of sexual harassment committed by Gogoi who made inappropriate advances toward her during October last year.

[ Woman Levels Sextortion Charges on Chief Justice of India ]

After holding an eyewash hearing to discuss his own case on April 20, Gogoi argued baselessly that the judiciary is being made a scapegoat and brushed the case under the carpet.

However, the judicial fraternity disagrees. “Specific allegations of sexual harassment and victimization against the CJI cannot be made out to be an assault on the judiciary. The Supreme Court is not above the Constitution. The manner in which sections of the Supreme Court and Bar sought to deal with this (issue) has caused shock and shudder,” said lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.

Meanwhile, a senior advocate and president of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA), Yatin Oza, has condemned Gogoi’s conduct in handling the sexual harassment allegations against him.

[ Legal Directions Newsletter Covers Indian and International Legal Affairs ]

In a letter written to the CJI, Oza has questioned Gogoi’s intent and the despotic manner in which he adjudicated his own case. He states in the letter that it “clearly and unequivocally gave an impression to a man with prudence that you (Gogoi) abused the chair that you hold.”

While Gogoi is trying to hush the case up, a group of activists and writers issued a joint statement on Monday seeking an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment and victimization against Gogoi.

The statement called upon all the judges of the Supreme Court to ensure that an “independent and credible inquiry committee comprising senior retired judges and eminent members of civil society, headed by a woman” is set up to inquire into the complaint made by the former woman employee of the Supreme Court.

The statement adds that the charges are prima facie serious enough to warrant an independent inquiry by a high level independent committee.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.

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Rakesh Raman