The Supreme Court appointed three-judge in-house committee probing the allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Monday gave a clean chit to the CJI in the matter.
A statement issued by the top court said: “The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019, of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India.”
The in-house panel comprised Justice S.A. Bobde, the second most senior judge in the apex court, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Indu Malhotra.
The committee submitted its report on May 5, in accordance with the “in-house procedure to the next senior most judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy of the report to the judge concerned, namely the Chief Justice India.”
The court also said that the “in-house procedure was not liable to be made public.”
On Sunday, the apex court had issued a statement declining that Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Rohinton Nariman had met Justice Bobde, who was heading the panel probing the sexual harassment allegations against Gogoi.
It was claimed that Chandrachud and Nariman had met the members of the in-house committee on the evening of May 3 to register their concerns over continuing with the probe against the CJI in the absence of the complainant.
In a press release issued on Sunday, SC Secretary General Sanjeev Kalgaonkar said: “This is wholly incorrect. The in-house committee which is deliberating on the issue concerning the honourable Chief Justice of India deliberates on its own without any input from any other honourable judge of this court.”
On April 30, the former employee of the Supreme Court, who had accused the CJI of sexually harassing her, had said that she would no longer appear before the in-house panel set up by the apex court to probe her charges as she felt that she was “not likely to get justice”.
The woman said she felt “quite intimidated and nervous” in the presence of the three Supreme Court judges.
In a statement to the media, she had expressed serious reservations over the functioning of the panel, saying it was “an in-house committee of sitting judges junior to the CJI and not an external committee as I had requested…”
The woman said that during the panel’s hearing on April 26, the judges told her that it was neither an in-house committee proceeding nor a proceeding under the Vishakha Guidelines and that it was an informal proceeding.
“I was asked to narrate my account, which I did to the best of my ability even though I felt quite intimidated and nervous in the presence of three Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court and without having a lawyer or support person with me,” she said.
The committee was formed after the woman on April 19 levelled allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice Gogoi, reportedly in a letter addressed to 22 judges of the Supreme Court.