New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) held an extraordinary hearing this morning after a former employee of the Apex Court accused Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment and persecution.
A three-Judge Bench headed by Justice Gogoi was constituted after a sworn affidavit by the woman, copies of which were sent to the residences of 22 Apex Court Judges, became public yesterday. During the hearing in CJI’s Court No. 1, an unfazed Justice Gogoi said the allegations are unbelievable.
“This is unbelievable. I don’t think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations,” he said, adding, “There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate the Office of the CJI.”
The Court registry said a three-Judge Bench headed by the CJI was being set up to deal with a “matter of great public importance.” The Bench also comprised Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna.
The former employee has described two incidents of alleged molestation by Justice Gogoi in her affidavit, both of which allegedly took place in October 2018, only days after he was appointed as the CJI.
Confirming that a letter by the woman has been received by several sitting Judges, Supreme Court Secretary General Sanjeev Sudhakar Kalgaonkar said all the allegations made by the woman concerned are malafide and have no basis.
“No doubt, it is a malafide allegation,” Sanjeev Sudhakar Kalgaonkar said. Stating that it was leaving it to the wisdom of media to act responsibly on allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, the Court said the independence of judiciary is under “very, very severe” threat.
“After 20 years of selfless service as Judge, I have bank balance of Rs. 6.80 lakh,” Gogoi said. “Nobody can catch me on money, people have to find something and they have found this: This is the reward CJI gets after 20 years of service,” he said.
The woman worked as part of the home office of the CJI and was dismissed from service as she had taken a bribe to assure employment in the Supreme Court from a candidate. Even her brother-in-law was terminated as his performance and conduct was not satisfactory. Two criminal cases are pending against the woman in Hari Nagar and Moti Nagar Police Stations in New Delhi for cheating and issuing threats to the complainant of the bribery case.