The three-judge panel, headed by Justice Sharad Bobde, filed a report stating that “it did not find any substance in the allegations.”

CJI Gogoi gets clean chit in-house panel dismisses sexual harassment charges
news Sexual harassment Monday, May 06, 2019 - 17:06

The three-judge panel constituted to look into the sexual harassment charges against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has dismissed the charges against him. The three-judge panel, headed by Justice Sharad Bobde, filed a report stating that “it did not find any substance in the allegations” made by the former Supreme Court staffer who, in a sworn affidavit, had accused CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment.

“The In-House Committee has submitted its report dated 5.5.2019 in accordance with the in-House Procedure to the next senior Judge competent to receive the Report and also sent the copy to the Judge concerned, namely, the Chief Justice of India,” a press release signed by the Supreme Court's Secretary General stated.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgement in the 2003 Indira Jaising case, the panel added that the report of the committee constituted as a part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public. 

“The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the Complaint dated 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003) 5 SCC 494, 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,” the release added. 

The committee comprised of Justices Sharad Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The committee was probing the charges against CJI Gogoi ex-parte after the complainant withdrew from appearing before it. In the first three hearings, the woman said she felt "quite intimidated and nervous" in the presence of the three judges of the Supreme Court. The woman, in her statement to the media, also said during the panel's hearing on April 26, the judges told her that it was neither an in-house committee proceeding nor a proceeding under the Vishakha Guidelines and that it was an informal one.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was accused of sexual harassment by a former Supreme Court staffer employed with him from May 2018 to December 2018. In a sworn affidavit submitted to 22 Supreme Court judges, the complainant alleged that she was removed unceremoniously from her post after the incident of sexual assault and her family was also harassed.

The Chief Justice of India had denied the allegations, claiming it was a larger conspiracy against the judiciary. The in-house panel was formed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi after widespread criticism of the manner in which the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of the CJI himself, conducted a suo motu hearing on the allegations, calling it a "matter of great public importance."

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