New Delhi: The first hearing, in sexual harassment allegations levelled against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman staff, by a panel headed by Justice SA Bodbe, including two Supreme Court judges, will begin on Friday. In this regard, the apex court secretary general has been asked to be ready with all documents and materials.
Earlier on Thursday, SC judge Indu Malhotra was appointed as a new member of the in-house inquiry panel set up to examine the allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, following Justice NV Ramana’s recusal which notably came a day after complainant’s letter to the panel expressing reservation over his inclusion. Justice Indira Banerjee is also part of the panel.
“I have been given the power to constitute or re-constitute the panel and conduct the inquiry,” Justice Bobde told PTI. “I have inducted a new member and this will be sent to the full court for approval,” he said.
Justice Bobde also stated that the first sitting with regard to the in-house inquiry on the matter will be held on Friday, April 26, as per the scheduled. Meanwhile, a notice to the woman, who had written letters to the judges alleging sexual harassment by the CJI, has already been issued.
Meanwhile, the SC also appointed Justice (Retd) AK Patnaik to head the inquiry to probe advocate Utsav Bains’ contention that three former employees of the apex court came together to frame the CJI with the help of some powerful lobbyists, asking the CBI Director and the IB Chief to co-operate with Justice AK Patnaik.
On Wednesday, the judges hearing the lawyer’s claim of a larger conspiracy against CJI had met the CBI, IB and Delhi Police chiefs.
Sexual harassment allegations had cropped up against the CJI on April 20 when a former apex court staffer alleged that she was sexually harassed and was then terminated from her post. The victim had also mentioned in her affidavit that she was continuously harassed until her termination which led to a frivolous FIR filed in March this year against her and her family.
The CJI denied the allegations, and called it a ‘conspiracy to destabilise judiciary’. Dismissing the allegations, Gogoi had said that he was hurt with the ‘baseless charges’ and that this was being leveled against him with an intention to malign his image.