Monday, 19 August, 2019

India´s top judge faces sexual harassment storm

INDIA-COURT-JUSTICE-GOGOI Indian chief justice accused of sexual harassment
Patty Aguilar | 21 April, 2019, 06:42

Allegations are being levelled because I am hearing a sensitive case next week. I do not want to stoop so low as to answer these chargers, Justice Gogoi also said.

"There are forces that are trying to destabilise the judiciary ... there are bigger forces behind these allegations hurled at me", he told the special hearing, adding that the woman had a criminal background.

The Patiala House court on Saturday has adjourned the hearing on the police plea to cancel the bail of a former woman Supreme Court employee who has accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment in a cheating and criminal intimidation case on April 24.

One of the news portal, he referred was The Leaflet. The CJI who was presiding over the bench, however, did not pass any gag order against the media on reporting this. Gogoi said, "All I would say is this particular employee was in the CJI's residential office from August 27 till October 22". He also said that the woman was employed for a month and half and that he didn't deem appropriate to reply to the allegations when they first surfaced.

A three-judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna had a special siting at 10.30 am on Saturday to deal with a matter of "great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary". "We condemn this attempt of targeting Indian judiciary", Office-bearer Gaurav Kumar Bansal said.

When he did not stop, she says she "was forced to push him away from me with my hands".

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CJI Gogoi said, "Last evening I received 4 communications from Wire, Leaflet, Caravan and Scroll, saying a letter is circulated by a dismissed SC employee alleging that CJI has sought sexual favours". This I thought should be told from highest seat of judiciary.

The chief justice claimed that no judge would decide cases if "this is the kind of attack we get".

Former Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh said some senior Supreme Court judges should conduct an in-house inquiry to determine the truth.

"The independence of the judiciary is under very serious threat and there is a larger conspiracy to destabilize the judiciary", the Bench said.

Gogoi also brought up his savings and said he had worked for 20 years and that this, the allegations, was his "reward" after so many years of service.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta prodded the Bench to register a complaint in his name but the court refrained for the time being and asked to media to show restraint, responsibility and wisdom so that the independence of the judiciary is not affected by baseless allegations.

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