Eminent citizens seek independent probe against CJI

A group of eminent citizens on Monday demanded "an independent and credible inquiry" by a committee comprising senior retired judges and members of civil society, headed by a woman, to look into the complaint of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi by an ex-woman staff.

Expressing their concern over the manner in which the complaint was dealt with, the citizens, including Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy, said these actions augur a dark day in the history of the Supreme Court and have, undoubtedly, cast a shadow on the credibility of the Chief Justice and the judiciary.

"The act of the CJI to constitute a special bench headed by himself to hear this issue on the judicial side, rather than constituting a credible and independent inquiry committee, goes against all just and settled principles of law," they said in a statement.

"In the hearing, one-sided allegations were made by the CJI and senior most law officers of the government. This is unbecoming of a judicial proceeding," they said.

They said the charges were prima facie serious enough to warrant an independent inquiry by a high-level independent committee.

Demanding protection for the victim and recusal of the CJI from the issue, they said, "This is a moment of grave crisis for the judiciary. If the Court is unable to credibly deal with this challenge, public confidence in the judiciary will be severely eroded."

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