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 Friday, April 19, alleging that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11, 2018.
“He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go,” she wrote in an affidavit sent with a covering letter. “He told me ‘hold me’, he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
In response to questions sent to the Chief Justice of India, the Secretary General of the Supreme Court of India sent an email denying the allegations, calling them “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.
“Its is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution,” the email said.
Further while denying sexual harassment allegation against him during a special hearing in Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “A bank balance of ₹6.8 lakh is all I have.” “They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this (harassment),” he added.
Here is the Affidavit
In the affidavit, the woman said after she rebuffed the Chief Justice of India, 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.
The harassment did not stop at her dismissal, the former junior court assistant alleged in the sworn 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 December 28, 2018, for a criminal case involving a colony dispute dating back to 2012 that had been mutually resolved.
On January 11, a police officer accompanied the woman to the Chief Justice’s residence where, she alleged, Justice Gogoi’s wife asked her to apologise by prostrating on the floor and rubbing her nose at her feet. She followed the instructions, even though she did not know what the apology was for.
Despite the apology, her disabled brother-in-law, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court on October 9 as a temporary junior court attendant under the discretionary quota of the Chief Justice of India, was served a termination letter on January 14. No reasons were given.
Scroll.in emailed questions to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi around 10 am on Friday, April 19, seeking his comments to the allegations made in the affidavit and covering letter. The Secretary General of the Supreme Court responded to the questions in an email sent early Saturday.
Referring to the former junior court assistant, the email said, “She worked as part of the home office of the Chief Justice of India only for a short period, and as informed, given the nature of her duties, she had no occssion to interact directly with the Chief Justice of India.”
The email said the woman was dismissed from service as per procedure.
The email said there were “complaints made against her by the secretariat of the Chief Justice of India, to the Secretary General on account of her inappropriate behavior, and this resulted in her transfer out of the home office of the CJI. Apart from the misconduct formally recorded in the complaint by the secretariat, there were other counts of misconduct on her part.”
The email did not give any further details about the woman’s alleged misconduct. The inquiry committee report that led to her dismissal only mentioned complaints made against her after she moved of the Chief Justice of India’s office.
The email said: “Her brother-in-law was terminated as he was only a temporary employee at that stage and his performance and conduct was reported not to be satisfactory.” The termination letter to the brother did not record any reasons.
“Throughout her employment in the Supreme Court, whether during her posting at home office of the CJI, or even subsequently after she was transferred out of the home office of the Chief Justice of India, or at the time she was terminated, or even thereafter, there were no complaints made by her of the nature now being alleged. It is not only mischievous but a complete afterthoght of her to make these false allegations at this time,” the email said.
Read more in detail at scroll.in