In an unprecedented development, the Supreme Court held an extraordinary hearing on Saturday after a former employee of the apex court accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment and persecution.
During the hearing in CJI’s court No.1, an unfazed Justice Gogoi stoutly denied the allegations and said they are ‘just’ unbelievable.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t think I should stoop to such low even to deny these allegations,” a visibly upset CJI told the three-member bench in court No.1, formed after a sworn affidavit was filed by the woman and the same was sent to residences of 22 apex court judges, resulting the case become a public.
The CJI also observed that there has to be bigger force behind this as they want to deactivate the office of CJI.
In fact, the apex court registry in a notice earlier in the day said a three-bench headed by the CJI was constituted to deal with the “matter of great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary”.
Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna formed part of thee-member bench headed by CJI.
The petitioner, who was a former employee claimed that two incidents of alleged molestation by Gogoi in her affidavit, both of which apparently took place in October 2018, only few days after Justice Gogoi was appointed as the CJI.
The Supreme Court Secretary-General Sanjeev Sudhakar Kalgaonkar, while confirming the receipt of a letter from a woman, however said all allegations made by the petitioner are malafide and have no basis. “I have no doubts in my mind that they are malafide allegations,” he added.
Interestingly, the apex court leaves it to the wisdom of media to act responsibly on allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI. It also said today ‘judiciary is under very, very severe threat.’