Top Court: Sex Harassment Charges Against Chief Justice, Baseless

Top Court: Sex Harassment Charges Against Chief Justice, Baseless

Top Court: Sex Harassment Charges Against Chief Justice, Baseless

New Delhi: There is no substance in the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, a Supreme Court in-house inquiry has decided.

"The in-house inquiry committee has found no substance in the allegations in the complaint dated April 19 of a former employee of the Supreme Court," the Supreme Court said in a statement.

The panel, which includes Justice SA Bobde, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Indu Malhotra, has said that the report of a committee constituted as part of the in-house inquiry is "not liable to be made public".

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi appeared on Wednesday before the panel, formed after the court decided to go ahead with the inquiry even after the complainant opted out. The woman withdrew from the inquiry on Tuesday, saying she felt she was "not likely to get justice from this committee".

In a letter, she said she found the "atmosphere of the committee very frightening" and that she felt "very nervous" as she was not allowed to have her counsel with her or discuss the proceedings with her.

The panel's composition had been tweaked after her objections that one of the judges was a close family friend of the Chief Justice.

Justice NV Ramana had immediately withdrawn from the panel, saying while he rejected her aspersions on his "capacity to render impartial judgment", it was essential that justice, "must not only be done, but also manifestly seem to be done".

Soon after the news of the allegation emerged last month, Chief Justice Gogoi, at a special hearing of the top court, denied the woman's allegations, saying he was being targeted as he was slated to hear several important cases.

"There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice," the Chief Justice had said, alleging that the independence of the judiciary is "under threat" and it was being made a "scapegoat".