New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Saturday said that sexual harassment allegations against him make independence of judiciary under very serious threat. He also added that it is a “larger conspiracy” to destabilise the judiciary.
CJI led bench did not pass any orders on allegations and asked media to show restrain to protect independence of judiciary.
Refuting to the allegations, the CJI said there is some bigger force behind the woman who made sexual harassment charges and called them baseless.
“This is unbelievable. I don't think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations. After 20 years of selfless service as judge, I have bank balance of Rs 6.80 lakh. Nobody can catch me on money, people have to find something and they have found this,” Gogoi added.
Justifying his stand, CJI said, “I have taken this unusual and extraordinary step of sitting in court today because things have gone too far. Judiciary can't be made scapegoat. I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear.”
Gogoi said, "Independence of judiciary is under serious threat, very hurt with the allegations being levelled. Four media houses have published stories in great detail. I received communication from them."
The former employee has described two incidents of alleged molestation by Gogoi in her affidavit, both of which allegedly took place in October 2018, only days after he was appointed as the CJI.
Confirming that a letter by the woman has been received by several sitting judges, Supreme Court Secretary General Sanjeev Sudhakar Kalgaonkar said all the allegations made by the woman concerned are malafide and have no basis. "No doubt, it is a malafide allegation," he said.
The "unusual and extraordinary" hearing on a Saturday was held after stories were published on some news portals on the allegations made by an ex-employee of the apex court against the CJI.
The CJI said this issue has cropped up when a bench headed by him is scheduled to hear "many, many sensitive cases" next week and this was also the month of Lok Sabha elections in the country.
Chief Justice clarified that charges against him will be examined by other senior judges and not by himself.
Justice Mishra urged the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly so that the independence of the judiciary is not affected by such "wild and baseless allegations"
“We are not passing any judicial order at this moment. We, however, ask media to show restraint, responsibility, and wisdom so that independence of the judiciary is not affected by such wild and baseless allegations”, Justice Mishra said.
According to reports, the woman alleged that she was removed from service after she rebuffed his advances. She claimed that her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom were head constables, were suspended for a 2012 criminal case that had been mutually resolved. She was later also made to prostrate before Justice Gogoi's wife and made to rub her nose at her feet in the chief justice's residence, she alleged, adding that her disabled brother-in-law was removed from service at the Supreme Court.
The woman also alleged that she was detained at a police station along with her husband and other relatives and they were subjected to physical and verbal abuse in a case of cheating against her.
(With PTI inputs)...