Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has denied allegations of sexual harassment against him by a former woman employee of his office. A special bench of the Supreme Court heard the case on Saturday after the woman had sent copies of a letter to several sitting judges..
Responding to the allegations made by the woman that were carried by a handful of online portals, Gogoi said, “I don’t want to stoop so low to answer these charges.”
“They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this. This is the reward a CJI gets after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs. 6,80,000. Less than 10 hours notice was given to me to respond,” CJI said. “What I want to tell citizens is that judiciary of this country is under serious threat”, he said and added that he intends to “ sit on this Bench and discharge my duties without fear and favour till my tenure is over”. CJI Gogoi has seven months of his tenure left.
Gogoi claimed that the judiciary was under serious threat, but that the matter would be considered by senior judges of the court. He claimed that no judge would decide cases if “this is the kind of attack we get”. “Reputation is the only thing we have,” he was quoted saying. While the judges said they were not passing any order, Gogoi said they were “leaving it to the media” to ensure that through their coverage the independence of the judiciary was protected.
The woman, who worked as a junior court assistant, wrote to 22 judges of the court alleging that the chief justice had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11, 2018. Apart from her letter, a few online portals have carried extensive details of what are deemed to serial harassment of the woman, apparently sourced from interviews with her.
But the CJI says that the woman who had made the allegations has a criminal background with two FIRs against her. A former junior assistant at the home office of the CJI, she was dismissed from service last year, after an incident of inappropriate behaviour was reported to the Registry.