The allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, leveled by a former employee of the court will be heard and investigate by a panel of three Supreme Court Judges.
This decision came on Tuesday evening following a vertical split amongst the judiciary with a section decrying Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s handling of the whole matter without giving the complainant a fair trial.
Meanwhile Utsav Bains, the lawyer who claimed there was a conspiracy today submitted proof to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover today.
The top court, in a hearing on Tuesday, had served notice to Mr Bains and told him to explain his affidavit today and clarify his claim that he knew the chain of events and would submit names of those involved in a sealed cover.
A special bench called an emergency hearing on Saturday after the former employee, in an affidavit to several Supreme Court judges, alleged she was sexually harassed by the Chief Justice.
According to sources, the decision to set up the panel was taken by a full court – attended by all the judges except Chief Justice Gogoi. Justice SA Bobde, who is next in seniority to Justice Gogoi, will head the panel. The others are Justices NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee.
“I picked Justice Ramana because he is next to me in seniority and Justice Banerjee because she is a woman judge,” PTI quoted Justice Bobde as saying.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has strongly denied the allegations, asserting that the independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it was being made a “scapegoat”. “This is unbelievable. I don’t think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations,” he said on Saturday during an emergency hearing.
That hearing, however, was criticised by two associations of the top court – the Supreme Court Bar association and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, which wanted the full court to take a call on further action.
Further, in a statement, around 33 personalities including Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy sought an independent inquiry. According to sources, the full court today passed the resolution to form the panel. Justice Bobde proposed the move, which was accepted by his colleagues. The proposal has been circulated among all the judges.