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Published On: Wed, May 1st, 2019

CJI Gogoi To Appear Before Top Court in-house committee

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Gogoi_630_630NEW DELHI : Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has agreed to appear before the Supreme Court’s three-member in-house committee, which is looking into the sexual harassment allegation against him levelled by a former employee of the top court. The panel, formed after a decision of the full court, has decided to go ahead with the inquiry, even though the complainant has opted out of the inquiry.
The panel, headed by Justice SA Bobde, had written to Chief Justice Gogoi, asking him to appear before it. His response came today.
The woman withdrew from the inquiry yesterday, saying she was opting out as she feels that she is “not likely to get justice from this committee”.In a letter, she said she found the “atmosphere of the committee very frightening” and that she felt “very nervous” as she was not allowed to have her counsel with her or discuss the proceedings with her.
Her decision came after three hearings by the panel, the composition of which had been tweaked after her objections that a judge named was a close family friend of the Chief Justice. Justice NV Ramana had immediately withdrawn from the panel, saying while he rejected her aspersions on his “capacity to render impartial judgment”, it was essential that justice, “must not only be done, but also manifestly seem to be done”.

Soon after the news of the allegation became public, Chief Justice Gogoi, at a special hearing of the top court, had denied the woman’s allegations, saying he is being targeted as he is slated to heat several important cases shortly.He also alleged that there was a conspiracy, saying “There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice”.The independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it was being made a “scapegoat” he had said.
The hearing, however, was criticised by many, including two associations of the top court – the Supreme Court Bar association and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, which wanted the full court to take a call on further action.Around 33 activists and key personalities from the civil society, including Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy, had sought an independent inquiry.ndtv.

 

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