New Delhi: Justice D Y Chandrachud, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, has reportedly asked the three-member in-house panel probing allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to not proceed with investigation, in the absence of the woman complainant, who has withdrawn from the inquiry. Also Read - Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi's Decisions May Have Triggered Conspiracy Against Him, Says Supreme Court
As per a report of Indian Express, Chandrachud, on May 2, wrote to the three judges Justices S A Bobde, Indu Malhotra, saying the apex court’s credibility would be damaged if they decided to continue with the probe in the absence of the complainant. Also Read - Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi Accorded Z+ VIP Security Cover by Centre
Chandrachud’s concern comes days after the complainant, a former Supreme Court employee, said that she won’t appear before the three-judge panel of the apex court probing the case. “I felt I was not likely to get justice from this committee and so I am no longer participating in the 3 Judge Committee proceedings,”the 35-year-old woman, said in a letter, a day after the panel, led by Justice SA Bobde, held its third in-chamber sitting on Monday. Also Read - Coronavirus: Controversial Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi's Mother Contributes Rs 1 Lakh to PM-CARES Fund
She had claimed,”I was repeatedly asked by the committee as to why I had made this complaint of sexual harassment so late. I found the atmosphere of the committee very frightening and I was very nervous because of being confronted and questioned by three Supreme Court Judges and without even the presence of my lawyer/support person.”
Following her letter, the in-house panel decided to proceed with probe in her absence.
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.