- NL Sena
A 35-year old woman, a former staffer at the Supreme Court of India, has accused the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, of sexual harassment. The allegations surfaced after the woman sent an affidavit detailing her alleged plight to 22 SC judges on Friday, April 19. The story has come out today in The Caravan, Scroll.in, The Wire and The Leaflet.
A former junior court assistant in the SC, the woman claims that Gogoi had touched her inappropriately on October 10 and 11, 2018. “He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go,” says the affidavit. The Secretary-General of the SC denied the allegations, saying they were “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.
The woman claims that Gogoi assisted her and her family professionally, but his intentions were suspect: “In hindsight, I say that it is clear that the CJI took an undue interest in me and supported me professionally, as his motive was to make sexual advances…”
The woman’s affidavit says that when rejected Gogoi’s advances, she was moved out of his residence and then dismissed from service in December 2018.
According to her, the harassment did not stop here. “It engulfed her entire family, she claimed,” says the account put out by Scroll.in. “Her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom are head constables in Delhi Police, were suspended on December 28, 2018, for a case involving a colony dispute dating back to 2012 that had been mutually resolved,” the report adds.
In January this year, at the CJI’s residence, Justice Gogoi’s wife asked the woman to apologise by prostrating on the floor and rubbing her nose at her feet, she claims.
On March 9, the woman and her husband were picked up from their ancestral village in Rajasthan by the Delhi police as part of a cheating complaint against her. They were taken back to the capital and detained at the Tilak Marg police station, where they faced verbal and physical abuse and were deprived of food and water for 24 hours, the affidavit alleges.
The woman has included video footage as part of the annexures to the affidavit.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Court alleged a conspiracy to defame the apex court: “It appears that these false allegations are being made as pressure tactics to somehow come out of the various proceedings which have been initiated in law, against her and her family, for their own wrongdoings. It is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution.”