The complainant in the sexual harassment case against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday said she was very disappointed, after the Supreme Court cleared Gogoi of the allegations earlier in the day. She added that she was now “extremely scared and terrified”.
“I, the woman complainant, a former Supreme Court employee, am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the in-house Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India,” the complainant said in a statement. “I am now extremely scared and terrified because the in-house committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection...”
The complainant said her family is vulnerable to “ongoing reprisals and attack”. She said that the panel did not allow her lawyer or support person to be present during proceedings. It also did not accede to her request to lay down the procedure that it would be following or record the proceedings, she added.
“Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the committee have been shattered,” she said. “In fact the committee has announced that I will not even be provided a copy of the Report, and so I have no way of comprehending the reasons and basis for the summary dismissal of my Complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation.”
The complainant said she will now consult her lawyer and determine the future course of action.
In April, the complainant had written an affidavit to 22 Supreme Court judges calling for an inquiry into the actions of Gogoi, who she said not only harassed her but was responsible for subsequent victimisation, which led to her and other members of her family losing their government jobs, as well as criminal cases being filed against them. However, on April 30, she withdrew from the inquiry as she had not been allowed to have a lawyer present and was not informed about the procedure that would be followed.
I, the woman complainant, a former SC employee, am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the In-House Committee “has found no substance” in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India. I am now extremely scared and terrified because the In- House Committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely malafide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack. As is known this complaint in the form of an Affidavit was sent by me to the Justices of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 19.04.2019. I am alarmed at the conclusion arrived at by the In House Committee, as my accusation of sexual harassment at the workplace and the consequent relentless victimization and reprisals against me and my family, are substantiated by documents and are verifiable. On 26.04.2019, I had joined proceedings of the In-House Committee and from the very beginning expressed serious concerns and reservations that the manner in which the proceedings were being conducted would not mitigate the stark asymmetry of power between me and the CJI.
I had pointed out in my communication to the in house committee that I needed to have my lawyer or support person present with me in the proceedings. I had also asked the committee to lay down the procedure that it would be following and also asked for the proceedings to be recorded so that there is no dispute about what transpired. However none of this was done and I was not even supplied a copy of my statement as recorded by the committee until after I was forced to walk out from the proceedings on the 30th of April 2019. From the media I have learnt that the CJI was perhaps called by the committee for his version. However I am not aware whether any of the other persons named in my complaint who would have knowledge of matters mentioned in the complaint, especially my victimisation, were called by the committee for their evidence. I do not even know whether the SHO who took me to the CJIs residence to make me apologise to the CJIs wife in a humiliating manner, was called by the committee even though I had submitted a video recording of my interaction with him on that day. I do not even know whether the call records of the CJI or the Secretary General were called for by the committee which would substantiate some of the facts mentioned in my complaint.
Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the committee have been shattered. In fact the Committee has announced that I will not even be provided a copy of the Report, and so I have no way of comprehending the reasons and basis for the summary dismissal of my Complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation. I was already condemned by the CJI and his senior colleague in an extraordinary suo moto “hearing” which took place on the 20th of April 2019, where accusations were made upon my character and my truthfulness in my absence. I have already placed my earlier communications with the Hon’ble Committee in the public domain through my press note dt. 30.04.2019, when I was compelled to walk out of the Committee proceedings as the Committee had refused to accept even my most basic requests for a fair hearing. On 4th May 2019, at about 8 pm I received a hard copy of my statements recorded before the In House Committee on 26th, 29th and 30th April, 2019. On 6th May 2019, at around 10.30 am, I submitted Corrections of some inaccuracies in my recorded statements, to the concerned Registrar at the Supreme Court. I will consult my lawyer and decide on the next steps. Today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the capacity of our system to deliver justice to the weak and vulnerable who are pitted against the powerful within the system itself.
Complainant, former Supreme Court employee
6th May 2019