Harassment allegations: CJI meets inquiry committee

Harassment allegations: CJI meets inquiry committee

Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi. (PTI File Photo)

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday appeared before a three-judge inquiry panel, set up to examine sexual harassment charges against him levelled by a former Supreme Court employee.

He is learnt to have remained before the panel for three hours and denied all the charges.

The development comes a day after the woman refused to participate in the proceedings any longer before the in-house committee headed by senior most judge Justice S A Bobde and comprising two woman judges, Justices Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra.

After participating in the proceedings for three days, she had questioned the very procedure adopted by the committee in violation of the Vishakha guidelines, denial of a lawyer's assistance and absence of audio and video recordings of her statement, as cited them as the grounds to opt out of the inquiry panel.

On Wednesday, the CJI appeared before the panel for the inquiry. It is learnt that he had rebutted the accusations made by the staff, who worked at his residence. After the woman's refusal, the committee has decided to proceed ex-parte.

The panel was formed only last week after sensational charges by the woman against the CJI and her affidavit sent to other judges surfaced in the media on April 20. Former SC judge Justice A K Patnaik was also appointed separately on the judicial side by a three-judge bench to inquire into the conspiracy aspect on the basis of an affidavit submitted by advocate, Utsav Singh Bains.