An in-house inquiry committee investigating sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not find find any substance in the allegations, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
The court’s secretary general said in a press release that the three-member committee submitted its report on May 5 to the “the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also a copy is sent to judge concerned, namely CJI Ranjan Gogoi”. The court said the contents of the report were not liable to be made public as per a 2003 judgement.
The committee comprised Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The 35-year-old complainant withdrew from the inquiry proceedings on April 30, but the committee decided to carry on the inquiry in her absence. Gogoi appeared before the inquiry committee the following day.
The woman had said she was withdrawing from the inquiry as the committee had denied her request for video recording of the procedure. She was told that she was not allowed to disclose the happenings in the committee to the media or to her lawyer Vrinda Grover.
The complainant used to work as a junior court assistant at the top court. On April 19, she wrote to 22 Supreme Court judges, alleging that Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11.
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. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in an inquiry report, was that she had taken casual leave for one day without approval. She alleged that her family was persecuted after the incident.
Gogoi denied the allegations during a special hearing on April 20. The chief justice said 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”.