The woman complainant says that the probe panel held the hearing in an informal manner and asked her not to share the proceedings with her lawyer Vrinda Grover.
By Rakesh Raman
While the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi are being investigated, a slew of lawyers and activists have raised concerns over the biased manner in which the investigation is being conducted by an in-house inquiry committee.
In their open letter addressed to the judges of the Supreme Court, over 300 persons – including lawyers, social activists, and NGOs – have complained that the probe panel is not working in an impartial setting as it has decided to adjudicate the matter ex parte after the woman staffer who filed the sexual harassment complaint against the CJI has withdrawn from the proceedings.
The woman complainant had decided to stay away from the ongoing inquiry proceedings, with the apprehension that she will not get justice from the internal inquiry panel.
After attending the committee proceedings on April 26 and April 29, the 35-year old woman said in her letter that she has serious concerns about the committee comprising Justices S A Bobde, Indira Banerjee, and Indu Malhotra as the members.
The woman had requested the inquiry committee to inform her about the procedure it will follow and allow her the assistance of a lawyer. She also had requested that the proceedings be video-recorded.
But she complained that the probe panel held the hearing in an informal manner and asked her not to share the proceedings with her lawyer Vrinda Grover.
The 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.
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 tried to brush the case under the carpet. Also, the Supreme Court Secretary General S S Kalgaonkar rejected the woman’s allegations without waiting for the inquiry committee’s decision.
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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