CJI case: Woman pulls out of in-house inquiry

New Delhi: The former employee of the Supreme Court, who accused Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment, on Tuesday pulled out from the in-house inquiry set up by the apex court to probe the charges against the CJI.

In a statement to the media, she said: “I felt I was not likely to get justice from this committee and so I am no longer participating in the 3-judge committee proceedings.”

Expressing serious reservations about the in-house committee comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, the woman said: “The the committee was an in-house committee of sitting judges junior to the CJI and not an external committee as I had requested.”

The woman said during the committee hearing on April 26, the judges on the panel had told her that this was neither an in-house committee proceeding, nor a proceeding under the Vishakha Guidelines and that it was an informal proceeding.

“I was asked to narrate my account which I did to the best of my ability even though I felt quite intimidated and nervous in the presence of three Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and without having a lawyer or support person with me,” said the woman.

The woman had pointed out to the committee that she had lost hearing in one ear completely due to stress and that she was undergoing daily treatment. As a consequence, she was unable to hear sometimes the instructions that were being dictated by Justice Bobde to the court official as a record of my statements before the committee.

“Further, the committee declined my request for video recording of the committee proceedings. I was also clearly told that no lawyer/support person could be present with me during the committee hearing,” said the woman in her statement for boycotting the in-house inquiry.

She said the committee instructed her orally not to disclose the proceedings of the committee to the media and not to share the proceedings with my lawyer Vrinda Grover.

Last week, Justice N.V. Ramana, who was on the committee initially, had withdrawn after the woman complained that he was a family friend of the Chief Justice and sought the inclusion of a second woman judge. The three-member committee was recast after her objections.