In an unprecedented development in the history of Indian judiciary, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday appeared before an in-house inquiry committee probing sexual harassment allegations against him.
“A letter of request was issued to the Chief Justice of India asking him to meet the committee and he responded it and he met the committee on this issue,” the source told PTI.
This is for the first time that a CJI has appeared before a committee over allegations of sexual harassment.
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.
Earlier on Tuesday, the former woman employee who had accused the CJI of sexual harassment refused to appear before the in-house panel saying she felt that she is “not likely to get justice”.
The woman, who appeared once before the committee, comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, said she felt “quite intimidated and nervous” in the presence of the three judges of the Supreme Court.
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.
Later, the CJI set up a fresh bench comprising justices Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta to adjudicate the matter relating to sexual harassment levelled against him.
Ordering an investigation into the alleged conspiracy against the CJI, the Supreme Court last week appointed retired judge AK Patnaik to head the inquiry to probe lawyer Utsav Bains’ allegations.
Utsav Bains had alleged a conspiracy against the Chief Justice.
Bains has claimed that he was offered Rs 1.5 crore to represent the former apex court woman employee who levelled the allegation against the CJI.
Bains also said that he was asked to arrange a presser against the CJI at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. He said that he had found loopholes in the case.
Chief Justice Gogoi has been accused of sexual assault by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018.