Judiciary Under Very Serious Threat, Says CJI Ranjan Gogoi After Sexual Harassment Allegations by SC Staff [20-04-2019]

New Delhi: The Supreme Court held a special hearing on Saturday morning after sexual harassment allegations were levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former court staffer.

CJI Gogoi, himself heading a three-judge bench, said the allegations showed that “judiciary is under very serious threat”.

Although the bench did not pass any order, the CJI clarified that the charges against him will be examined by other senior judges and not by himself.

“The judiciary is under a very serious threat… good people will never become judges if this is how they are targeted. There's nothing more valuable than honour for me. And I had to constitute this bench to say this from the highest seat," Justice Gogoi said at the hurriedly called hearing.

Justice Gogoi further said that he thinks there has to be a bigger force behind this. "They want to deactivate office of CJI."

“I have taken this unusual and extraordinary step of sitting in court today because things have gone too far. Judiciary can't be made scapegpat. I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear,” said the CJI.

He said that as nobody could catch him on money, people had to find something and they found this – referring to the sexual harassment allegations levelled by the staffer in an affidavit sent to 22 SC judges. The hearing was called within two hours of three news websites - Scroll, The Wire and The Caravan - published articles detailing the complainant's allegations against Gogoi.

“After 20 years of selfless service as judge, I have bank balance of Rs 6.80 lakh. My peon has more assets and money than me,” he said.

Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna, the two other judges on the bench, also said that the court cannot function if the judges are attacked.

"We are all concerned with independence of judiciary as people have faith in judicial system. Faith of people in judiciary will be shaken by such unscrupulous allegations," Justice Mishra said.

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20 Apr 2019