Sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi: Justice Bobde committee finds no substance in complaint

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE three-member in-house enquiry committee of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices  SA Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra has found no substance in the complaint of sexual harassment made by a former apex court employee against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.

The committee, through a note released by the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court, said the findings of the report would not be made public. The report had been handed over the next senior most judge, the note said, without naming the judge. CJI Gogoi had also been given a copy of the report.

“The In-house Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India,” the note said.

Relying on Indira Jaising vs  Supreme Court of India and Anr  (2003) 5 SCC 494the committee said their report “was not liable to be made public”.

In Indira Jaising,  a judgement that predates the Right to Information Act 2005, the court had held an inquiry ordered and the report made “to the Chief Justice of India being confidential and discreet is only for the purpose of his information and not for the purpose of disclosure to any other person.”




In a letter dated April 19, 2019, that was accompanied by a sworn affidavit to 22 judges of the apex court, the former Supreme Court employee alleged that she had been sexually harassed by CJI Gogoi while she was a staffer at his office. She also alleged that she and family were being persecuted by the police as a result of the incident.

The in-house enquiry committee was constituted following the publication of the complaint in the media, with CJI Gogoi himself appointing Justice Bobde to head the committee.

Justice Bobde had on April 23 told PTI that there was no time frame to complete the enquiry and that its findings would be kept confidential. He had also said the committee proceedings would not be formal

The complainant had appeared before the committee on three different occasions and finally withdrew after her repeated requests for video recordings of the proceedings and to be allowed to be accompanied by a lawyer were turned down. The committee then proceeded to enquire into the matter ex parte and had CJI Gogoi appear before it on May 1, 2019.

A newspaper report yesterday said that Justices Nariman and Chandrachud had suggested the appointment of an advocate as an amicus curie for assisting the in-house committee. The report was denied by the Supreme Court.