Women

Supreme Court Reinstates Staffer Who Accused Ex CJI Ranjan Gogoi of Sexual Harassment

After alleging sexual harassment by Gogoi, the woman was first transferred and then removed from service.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has reportedly reinstated the woman employee who had accused former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexually harassing her, and targeting her and her family after she refused his advances.

According to the Indian Express, the woman has rejoined her job and is currently on leave. She has reportedly been paid arrears for the time she was not allowed to work at the court.

After alleging sexual harassment by Gogoi, the woman was first transferred and then removed from service. The judicial machinery was then allegedly misused to victimise her and her family, from false cases being filed against them to her husband and brother-in-law being suspended from the Delhi police.

Also read: The Troubling Legacy of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

The sexual harassment allegations first came to light in April 2019, when three media houses including The Wire published detailed reports on the ordeal the woman and her family had to face. Then CJI Gogoi, however, refuted all the allegations and shocked observers by presiding over an “emergency hearing” on the matter himself.

An in-house Supreme Court panel was set up comprising three judges, but the complainant soon withdrew from the proceedings citing a lack of sensitivity. Concertising her fears, the panel went on to give Gogoi a clean chit in the matter, saying they found “no substance” in the woman’s allegations.

In an interview to The Wire, the woman said she had “lost everything” ever since she decided to speak up about her allegations. “I was completely disheartened. Shocked. I have lost my job, I have lost everything. My family members have lost their jobs. So I felt it was a great injustice to me and my family. We were all shocked to learn that they just said there is “no substance”,” she said.

Months after the in-house panel gave Gogoi a clean chit, a Delhi court closed the cheating case registered against the woman. In June 2019, her husband and brother-in-law were reinstated by the Delhi police.

Also read: Seven Dead-Ends if You’re a Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s handling of the allegations against then CJI Gogoi have been widely criticised. Women’s groups protested against the in-house panel’s “clean chit” across the country. Even retired Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur said there was a “clear institutional bias” in how the woman was treated.