New Delhi , April 20 : A junior court assistant at the Supreme Court of India wrote to 22 judges of the court alleging that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office during October last year .
In a sworn affidavit she said : “He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go and told me to ‘hold him ’, I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
In her affidavit, the woman said after she rebuffed CJI Gogoi . She was subsequently moved out of his residence office. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service.
The ordeal did not stop here . Her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom are head constables in Delhi Police, were suspended on December 28,last year for a criminal case in a colony dispute that had been mutually resolved.
On Jan 11 this year , a police officer accompanied the woman to the Chief Justice’s residence where, according to the sworn affadavit Justice Gogoi’s wife asked her to apologise by prostrating on the floor and rubbing her nose at her feet.
Her disabled brother-in-law, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court on Oct 9 as a temporary junior court attendant under the discretionary quota of the CJI , was served a termination letter on Jan 14 without any reasons.
On March 9, this year the former junior court assistant and her husband were at their ancestral village in Rajasthan, when a team of Delhi police reached their ancesterial house , wanting to take them back for questioning in a case based on a cheating complaint against her that she had taken Rs 50,000 from the complainant in 2017, promising to a job for him in the Supreme Court but failed to provide the job.
The very next day, she and her husband were detained at the Tilak Marg police station, along with her brother-in-law, his wife and a male relative, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit they were subjected to verbal and physical abuse, their hands and legs were cuffed, and they were denied food and water for nearly 24 hours.
Video footage showing the woman’s husband in handcuffs at the police station has been sent to the Supreme Court judges, as part of the annexures to the affidavit.
However ,CJI Ranjan Gogoi has dismissed the sexual harassment allegations, saying that it was a conspiracy to destabilise judiciary
Dismissing the sexual harassment allegations, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there was a bigger force behind the woman making allegations against him and added that the independence of the judiciary was under serious threat.
Justice Gogoi also said he was being targeted like this since the conspirators couldn’t level corruption allegations against him since he didn’t have much wealth or bank balance.
Several media houses reported sexual harassment charges against Supreme Court Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi after his former junior assistant accused him of sexual assault, following which an urgent hearing took place today.
Responding to allegations, Chief Justice of India Gogoi said it was a larger conspiracy to destabilise the judiciary. Dismissing allegations, he said there was a bigger force behind the woman making allegations and added that the independence of the judiciary was under serious threat.
Reiterating the allegations as baseless, CJI Gogoi said he was hurt with the allegations levelled against him by four media houses. The CJI asked the media to show restraint to protect the independence of the judiciary. Following allegations, the Supreme Court on today had an urgent hearing by a bench comprising CJI Gogoi himself, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.
During the hearing, Gogoi also said that the woman had a criminal background given she had FIRs registered against her. He questioned why she was allowed to enter the Court when there was a criminal case pending against her. On the woman working with him as his associate, Gogoi said she was employed under him only for a month and a half. He said when the allegations surfaced first, he didn’t feel the need to reply.
Gogoi referred to his bank balance and said despite 20 years of service, he just had Rs 6 lakh and Rs 40 lakh in provident fund, which was much more when he was a judge. Since there couldn’t be corruption allegations made against him in view of his reasonable bank balance, another excuse, referring to the sexual harassment allegations, had to be resorted to, added Gogoi.
( With Bureau inputs and Agencies )