‘Touched Me All Over’: CJI Gogoi Accused of Sexual Harassment

A 35-year-old woman accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexually harassment on Friday, 19 April.

The former junior court assistant submitted an affidavit to 22 judges of the Supreme Court on Friday morning, outlining how Gogoi sexually harassed her, and how she was further victimised and dismissed from her post.

She alleged that Gogoi made sexual advances on her while they were at his residence office on 10 and 11 October, last year.

Gogoi, however, through the office of the Secretary General of the Supreme Court has denied the allegations, calling them “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous,” Scroll reported.

‘False Cases Lodged Against Her’

“Her entire family has been harassed, victimised and intimidated. Thereafter false criminal cases have been lodged against her. So there is relentless intimidation and victimisation that is going on not just to silence her but to also punish her. She has narrated everything supported by documents,” senior advocate and human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover told The Quint.

What the Affidavit Says

In the affidavit submitted in court, which The Quint has a copy of, the woman said that after she rejected the efforts of the CJI, she was moved out of his residence office, where she was posted since August 2018.

Two months after she was moved, she was dismissed from service in December. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in the inquiry report, was that she had taken a casual leave of one day without approval.

The harassment did not stop at her dismissal, the former junior court assistant has alleged in the affidavit. It engulfed her entire family, she claimed. Her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom are head constables in Delhi Police, were suspended on 28 December 2018, the affidavit alleged. This was regarding a case involving a colony dispute dating back to 2012 that had been mutually resolved, it added.

What Led the Woman to Submit the Affidavit

A false case was lodged against the woman in March 2019 in which she was arrested and jailed for a day; she is currently out on bail. “On 3 March, someone called Naveen, who nobody knows, lodged a case that in 2017 this lady told me she will get me a job in the Supreme Court so I gave her Rs 50,000 and after two years he suddenly remembers to put an FIR. Even otherwise, the person who gives bribe is also to be charged. He is not charged, she is picked up and put into jail. She comes out. Now a cancellation of bail has been sought for her,” Grover told The Quint.

Elaborating on what was the final push that led the woman to voice her complaint, Grover added, “After remaining silent even though she lost her job, everybody (in her family) was suspended. After that when she was put into jail she is now saying that even when I am remaining silent he is not leaving me alone. Me and my family are being destroyed relentlessly so she has no choice but to go public. So she has placed her case before 22 judges of the Supreme Court saying please help me (sic).”

‘Didn’t Deem Appropriate to Reply to Allegations,’ Says CJI

A special bench of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice, has been constituted to have a special sitting on the matter, which is underway now.

Reacting to the allegation during the sitting, CJI Gogoi said, “All I would like to say is this, undoubtedly every employees are treated fairly and decently. This employee was there for a month-and-a-half. Allegations came and I didn't deem it appropriate to reply to the allegations,” he said.

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