New Delhi: A day after reports carried news of National Law University Delhi’s LL.B. course topper skipping the convocation ceremony as it would mean getting her gold medal from Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who she felt had handled the sexual harassment charges against him badly, the university released a statement saying the reports were not factually correct.
Gold medallist Surbhi Karwa had said she had been “in a moral quandary” over attending the ceremony and taking the award from Gogoi, who is the de facto Visitor to the University.
“The institution he heads failed when sexual harassment allegations were made against him,” Karwa was quoted as having said by Indian Express.
Although she spoke to Express, several news organisations including The Wire, carried reports on her protest.
On Tuesday, however, Bar and Bench reported that the university had denied that Karwa would have got her medal from CJI Gogoi. Stating that it was never communicated to Karwa that she would be getting her medal from Gogoi, NLU has said the topper “was to receive the medal from Mr. Vijay Dev, Chief Secretary, Delhi NCT.”
“We are highly perturbed over this instance as it has caused an unnecessary inconvenience to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India,” the NLU administration said in the statement, adding that it intended to take up necessary measures to resolve the matter.
Karwa’s gesture had brought back to the headlines the incidents associated with the former Supreme Court employee who had made sexual harassment allegations against Gogoi in an affidavit that she sent to all the judges of the court. The woman, her husband and two brothers-in-law had allegedly gone through several degrees of harassment in the aftermath of the October incident involving Gogoi.
The manner in which the case was dealt was thought of by many to be wanting in fairness.
A hurried hearing was convened on April 20 where Gogoi said the “independence of the judiciary” was under threat and recused himself from the case. A Supreme Court inquiry committee convened to probe the allegations found “no substance” in the accusations.
The woman had withdrawn from the inquiry citing that she had not been allowed to have a lawyer or even a support person present with her during the interrogations. The report, which was shared with Gogoi, was not shared with her, she had alleged. In the aftermath, she had told The Wire that she was scared and dejected.