A three-member committee of Supreme Court judges led by Justice SA Bobde was formed on Tuesday to look into allegations of sexual harassment raised against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, The Hindu reported. Justices NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee are also part of the panel.
Bobde, who is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court after the chief justice, confirmed to PTI that a committee had been set up. “I decided to have Justice Ramana in the panel as he is next to me in the seniority and Justice Banerjee as she is a woman judge,” Bobde said.
Bobde said Gogoi appointed him to look into the allegations levelled by a former staff of the Supreme Court because of his seniority.
Gogoi had also constituted a special bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta to look into the case, the first hearing for which was held on Tuesday.
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A 35-year-old woman who used to work as a junior court assistant at the Supreme Court of India wrote to 22 judges of the court on April 19, alleging that Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11 in 2018. In the affidavit, the woman said that after she rebuffed the chief justice, she was moved out of his residence office, where she had been posted in August 2018. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in the inquiry report, was that she had taken casual leave for one day without approval. She has alleged that her family is being persecuted after the incident.
Gogoi denied the allegations during a special hearing on April 20. The chief justice had said that he did not “deem it appropriate” to reply to the allegations and that they were part of a “bigger plot”, possibly one to “deactivate the office of the CJI”. Gogoi said the woman had a criminal background with two cases against her.