Section 144 has been imposed outside the Supreme Court following protests by women lawyers and activists who questioned the procedure adopted to clear CJI Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case.
As it is not allowed to gather outside the apex court for any kind of demonstration, the Delhi Police detained the protesters and imposed CrPC Section 144 in the area to prevent further escalation.
The protest comes a day after the Supreme Court-appointed three-judge in-house committee on Monday said it found no substance in the sexual harassment allegations against the CJI.
The probe panel further said that the procedure was not liable to be made public.
The in-house inquiry committee is headed by Justice SA Bobde, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee are the other two members in the panel.
Giving clean chit to CJI Gogoi, a notice by the office of Supreme Court Secretary-General said, “The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019, of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and others, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public.”
It further said: “The In House Committee has submitted its report dated May 5, 2019, in accordance with the In House Procedure, to the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely, the CJI.”
Following the verdict, the woman complainant in a statement said she is highly disappointed and that she felt gross injustice has been done to her.
The woman said she is “now extremely scared and terrified” as evidence on record has been rejected by the Supreme Court committee. “I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack,” she said in a statement to the media.
The former SC employee also said that she is not just “highly disappointed and dejected” to learn that the in-house committee appointed by the Supreme Court found “no substance” in her sexual harassment complaint, but also felt that “gross injustice” has been done.
According to her, “the committee has announced that I will not even be provided with a copy of the report, and so I have no way of comprehending the reasons and basis for the summary dismissal of my complaint of sexual harassment and victimization.”
The woman had pulled out of the probe on April 30 after participating for three days.
She had refused to appear before the panel saying she felt she is “not likely to get justice”.
A three-judge bench headed by CJI on April 20 had held an unprecedented hearing in the wake of allegations made against Justice Gogoi.
The Chief Justice had said a larger conspiracy was behind it and that he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.
Chief Justice Gogoi was accused of sexual assault by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018.
(With agency inputs)