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CJI case: Not part of any conspiracy, says complainant

The former Supreme Court staffer who levelled sexual harassment charges against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said in her first interview since her complaint that she is not part of any conspiracy to defame the institution.

india Updated: May 09, 2019 08:03 IST
Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ranjan Gogoi,India news,Chief Justice of India
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi seen during the book launch of Beyond The Name by Justice V K Sabharwal, in New Delhi, India, on Monday, January 14, 2019.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The former Supreme Court staffer who levelled sexual harassment charges against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said in her first interview since her complaint that she is not part of any conspiracy to defame the institution.

“I am not the part of any conspiracy against the Supreme Court. I have great respect for this institution. To protect the honour of the Supreme Court, there should be strict action against any wrongdoing, whether it is corruption or sexual harassment or anything else,’’ the complainant said in an interview conducted through her lawyer and senior advocate Vrinda Grover.

The 36-year-old woman who was, for some time, posted in Chief Justice Gogoi’s home office, detailed charges of sexual harassment and persecution in an affidavit that was sent to 22 judges of the apex court on April 19. The Court set up a three-member inquiry panel but the complainant walked out of the inquiry proceedings on April 30, saying she had “serious concerns and reservations” about justice being given to her by the committee. On May 6, the committee cleared Gogoi of any wrongdoing.

“The affidavit is the truth of my life and there is no conspiracy,” she said, adding, “I am hearing many rumours about conspiracy and some other motives which are all false and I am extremely distressed and disturbed that such allegations are being made. I have nothing to be scared about because I know I am not part of any conspiracy. The rumours, of me being part of a larger conspiracy against the Supreme Court, are totally false.”

In the affidavit, the former employee claimed that after she rebuffed Chief Justice Gogoi’s advances, she and her family faced consistent persecution that included her termination. “I say that the CJI has misused his position, office and authority and abused his clout and power to influence the police,” she said in her affidavit.

In her interview to this paper, the complainant said the intimidation and harassment being

faced by her family has not stopped and was, in fact, increasing. “A few days ago some people went to the house of my sister who lives in a town in Uttar Pradesh. They told her husband that if I continue to speak, my life is in danger. My sister and her family are extremely frightened and scared by all this. We don’t know who these people are and how they got to know where my sister lives. I understand that these are all ways of terrorising me so that I again become quiet.”

The woman employee wrote letters to the three-member probe panel, telling them that she was being followed by men on motorbikes and also informed them about this in person, when she appeared before them on April 30, but said: “The Committee told me that I have a large family and my husband and his brother are in police and they can take care of me.” Both the husband and his brother have been suspended from the Delhi Police.

The complainant, in March 2019, filed complaints with the National Commission for Women, the National Human Rights Commission and the Lieutenant Governor’s office about the harassment but “till date I have not been informed by any of these authorities about what action has been taken on my complaint.”

The three-member committee continued with its inquiry after the complainant walked out and submitted its report in a sealed cover. A release put out by the Secretary General said the committee found “no substance” in her allegations of sexual misdemeanour by the CJI.

The complainant has sought a copy of the report. “I do not feel that justice has been done to me in anyway… If I don’t have the report my right to justice is blocked,” she said.

The former Supreme Court employee said she was traumatized and under a lot of stress.

“I am constantly tense and living in fear of what more can happen to me. I pray and hope that the harassment and torture stops. I know that I will continue asking for justice for myself and my family.”

She did not elaborate on what steps she might take but several options are available to her. She can approach the court challenging her dismissal from service as being malafide and in violation of natural justice, and can also ask for the FIR against her to be quashed.

First Published: May 09, 2019 07:50 IST