Social Activists Demands Independent Inquiry Into Allegations Of Sexual Harassment And Victimization Against The CJI

Social Activists Demands Independent Inquiry Into Allegations Of Sexual Harassment And Victimization Against The CJI

Expressing deep concern over the complaint of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India, the Civil Society demands an independent inquiry by a high-level independent committee saying the charges are "prima facie serious enough to warrant an independent inquiry by a high level independent committee."

It says that the complaint against CJI also alleges arbitrary actions taken against the complainant, resulting in unprecedented victimization that she and her family have been put through and continue to suffer after she rejected the alleged sexual advances. These include the unjust termination of the services of the complainant, the suspension from service of her husband and two brothers-in-law, and her arrest on an apparently motivated FIR.

The Statement from the Society further adds that the act of the Chief Justice of India to constitute a special bench headed by himself to hear this issue on the judicial side, rather than constituting a credible and independent inquiry committee goes against all just and settled principles of law.

It reads:

"In the hearing, one-sided allegations were made by the Chief Justice and senior most law officers of the government. This is unbecoming of a judicial proceeding, especially one where the complainant in a sexual harassment case is absent and is permitted to be openly vilified in court. These actions augur a dark day in the history of the Supreme Court and have, undoubtedly, cast a shadow on the credibility of the Chief Justice and the judiciary."

It has called upon all the judges of the Supreme Court to ensure that an independent and credible inquiry committee comprising senior retired judges and eminent members of civil society, headed by a woman, be immediately set up to inquire into this complaint.

"It is imperative that the complainant be granted protection, so that her safety and security is ensured. In the meantime, since many of the witnesses named by the complainant are officials of the Supreme Court registry, it is incumbent on the Chief Justice to refrain from exercising any administrative powers during the course of the inquiry, since it would not be reasonable to expect officials under his direct administrative control to depose fearlessly."

Civil Society concerned about the institution of judiciary and the confidence reposed by public in it being sentinel on the qui vive ends its statement saying:

"This is a moment of grave crisis for the judiciary. If the Court is unable to credibly deal with this challenge, public confidence in the judiciary will be severely eroded."

Statement has been endorsed by:

Medha Patkar

Arundhati Roy

Aruna Roy

Kamla Bhasin

Bezwada Wilson

Yogendra Yadav

Kalpana Kannabiran

Harsh Mander

Syeda Hameed

P. Sainath

Kavita Kuruganti

Dipa Sinha

Annie Raja

Anjali Bhardwaj

Nikhil Dey

Prabhat Patnaik

Aakar Patel

Shabnam Hashmi

Kamal Jaswal

Amitabh Behar

Paul Divakar

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere

Kavita Srivastava

Arundhati Dhuru

Vipul Mudgal

Amrita Johri

Meera Sanghamitra

Abha Bhaiya

Himshi Singh

Basant Hetamsaria

Suhas Kolhekar

Annie Namala

Uma

Earlier, the Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association passed a resolution expressing deep reservation against the "procedural impropriety shown by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ranjan Gogoi in the suo motto proceedings held on April 20 on the issue relating to allegations of sexual harassment against Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ranjan Gogoi, by an ex-Supreme Court employee."

Resolution strongly disapproved the manner in which the complaint was dealt with and sought enquiry into the matter and sought immediate appointment of a committee headed by full court of the Supreme Court to impartially investigate and inquire into the allegations.