Supreme Court reinstates staffer who accused former CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has reinstated the court staffer who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, reports the Indian Express.

 

The woman staffer had been terminated after multiple transfers on grounds that she had overstepped in questioning her transfers and that she had taken leave without authorisation.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was part of her legal team, confirmed that she has been reinstated from the time she was terminated. She hasn’t, however, reported for work and proceeded on maternity leave immediately.

The staffer has been provided her salary as well and no charges are pending against her in the court records. She was a junior assistant II and has been reinstated in the same position with retrospective effect. Sources in the SC’s registrar office told ThePrint that she was officially brought back earlier this month.

In April last year, she had alleged that she was sexually harassed by CJI Gogoi while working as a Junior Court Assistant in October 2018. In a representation sent out to Supreme Court judges, she had detailed these allegations while seeking the initiation of an inquiry against CJI Gogoi.

After reports of the allegations first broke on April 20, a Special Bench was convened on the same day to look into the matter of grave public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary.

A three-judge Bench constituted to deal with this case, however, focused on whether there was a larger conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi and undermine judicial independence. Allegations to this effect were made by a lawyer, Utsav Bains.

A Court-appointed Committee headed by Justice (retired) AK Patnaik eventually concluded that the alleged conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi requires further inquiry.

An In-House Special Panel of Judges was also constituted to look into the sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi. This panel concluded that there was no substance in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by the staffer after four days of sitting.

The staffer had also alleged that her husband and brother-in-law, who were working as constables with Delhi Police, had been suspended from service following the termination of the woman complainant’s employment at the Supreme Court on December 21, 2018. In June, last year, her kin were re-instated back to service (with inputs from Bar & Bench).

Image Credit: The Print

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