Highly disappointed, dejected with Committee giving clean chit to CJI — Ex SC woman employee
New Delhi, May 6 (PTI): “Highly disappointed and dejected,” said the former Supreme Court employee who levelled sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, after the In-House Inquiry Committee gave him a clean chit on Monday.
She said “gross injustice” has been done to her as a woman citizen of India and her “worst fears” have come true shattering all hope of justice and redress from the highest Court of the land.
The woman, who issued a press statement, said that she will consult her lawyer and decide on the next steps.
“Today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the capacity of our system to deliver justice to the weak and vulnerable who are pitted against the powerful within the system itself,” she said, adding that the panel refused her plea to allow her to accompany a lawyer and video record the proceedings.
Further, she said she learnt from media that the CJI appeared before the committee to record his statement but she does not have any knowledge whether other persons who were aware of the allegations were called before the panel or not.
Immediately after the office of the apex court’s Secretary General came out with the findings of the three-member Committee headed by Justice S A Bobde that “has found no substance” in the allegations of sexual harassment, the woman in a statement, said she was extremely “scared and terrified” because the In- House Committee, has not given her justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely mala fide dismissals and suspensions.
“I, the woman complainant, a former Supreme Court employee, am not just highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the In-House Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint, but feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India.
“I am now extremely scared and terrified because the In- House Committee, despite having all material placed before them, has given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely mala fide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack,” she said in a press statement.
The woman further said that the complaint in the form of an affidavit was sent by her to the Justices of the top court on April 19, 2019 and she was “alarmed” at the conclusion arrived at by the In House Committee, as her accusation of sexual harassment at the workplace and the consequent relentless victimization and reprisals against her and her family, are substantiated by documents and are verifiable.
She said that on April 26, 2019, she had joined the proceedings of the Committee and from the very beginning expressed serious concerns and reservations that the manner in which the proceedings were being conducted would not mitigate the stark asymmetry of power between her and the CJI.
In the release, she said: “Today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the highest Court of the land have been shattered. In fact the Committee has announced that I will not even be provided a copy of the report, and so I have no way of comprehending the reasons and basis for the summary dismissal of my Complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation.
“I have already placed my earlier communications with the Committee in the public domain through my press note dated April 30, 2019, when I was compelled to walk out of the Committee proceedings as the Committee had refused to accept even my most basic requests for a fair hearing.”
She said that on May 4 2019, at about 8 pm she received a hard copy of her statements recorded before the Committee on April 26, 29 and 30, and on May 6, 2019, at around 10.30 am, she submitted corrections of some inaccuracies in her recorded statements to the concerned Registrar at the Supreme Court.
In the statement, she reiterated the objections she had raised while walking out of the proceedings.
She said that she had pointed out in her communication to the Committee that she needed to have her lawyer or support person present with her in the proceedings.
She said she had also asked it to lay down the procedure that it would be following and also asked for the proceedings to be recorded so that there is no dispute about what transpired.
“However none of this was done and I was not even supplied a copy of my statement as recorded by the committee until after I was forced to walk out from the proceedings on the April 30, 2019. From the media I have learnt that the CJI was perhaps called by the committee for his version,” she said.
She added: “However I am not aware whether any of the other persons named in my complaint who would have knowledge of matters mentioned in the complaint, especially my victimisation, were called by the committee for their evidence.
“I do not even know whether the SHO who took me to the CJIs residence to make me apologise to the CJIs wife in a humiliating manner, was called by the committee even though I had submitted a video recording of my interaction with him on that day. I do not even know whether the call records of the CJI or the Secretary General were called for by the committee which would substantiate some of the facts mentioned in my complaint.”