'No substance in charges': SC In-House panel gives clean chit to CJI Ranjan Gogoi
An In-House Inquiry Committee of the Supreme Court headed by Justice S A Bobde "has found no substance" in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman employee of the apex court.
A notice by the office of Supreme Court Secretary General also said that the report of the committee constituted as part of the In-House procedure is not liable to be made public.
The In-House Inquiry Committee has submitted its report dated May 5, 2019 in accordance with the In-House procedure, to the next senior judge, after Justice Bobde who is competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely the Chief Justice of India, it said.
The notice said: "The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and others, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public."
It further said: "The In House Committee has submitted its report dated May 5, 2019 in accordance with the In House Procedure, to the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely, the CJI."
The woman, who has alleged sexual harassment, withdrew from the proceedings of the committee on Tuesday. In a statement to the media, she expressed serious reservations over the panel, saying it was "an in-house committee of sitting judges junior to the CJI and not an external committee as I had requested."
The committee comprises Justices S.A. Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee. The panel was re-constituted after the woman objected to the inclusion of Justice N.V. Ramana on the committee, as he was apparently a close friend of the Chief Justice. Justice Ramana immediately withdrew from the panel, and he was replaced by a woman judge.
After the allegations surfaced on April 20, the CJI held an urgent hearing and he categorically denied the woman's allegations.
The CJI termed it as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. "There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice," he had said during the hearing.
(With inputs from agencies)
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