Senior Lawyer Karuna Nundy Points Out The 3 Major Problems With Gogoi-Sexual Harassment Committee
She said, "With limited participation by the complainant, for starters - this is no surprise."
Senior lawyer Karuna Nundy took to Twitter to criticise the clean chit given to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by the in-house committee probing sexual harassment charges against him.
She cited three important problems — limited participation of the complainant, the lack of a retired woman judge as an external member and the complainant not being allowed a lawyer.
Nundy wrote, “With limited participation by the complainant, for starters – this is no surprise. Had the composition of the committee been robust, with a retired woman judge as an external member, and the complainant allowed a lawyer, this conclusion would not have the question marks it does now.”
With limited participation by the complainant, for starters – this is no suprise. Had the composition of the Committee been robust, with a retired woman judge as external member, and the complainant allowed a lawyer, this conclusion would not have the question marks it does now. https://t.co/mTVgLoQeeF
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) May 6, 2019
On May 6, an in-house committee comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee cleared CJI Gogoi of the charges and said there was “no substance” in the allegations of the former SC employee.
Last month, three major news outlets had reported that a 35-year-old woman who used to work as a junior court assistant at the Supreme Court (SC) had written in a sworn affidavit — sent to 22 judges — that CJI Ranjan Gogoi had allegedly made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11, 2018. The victim alleged that her family too was harassed.
Immediately after the reports of sexual harassment went public, a bench led by CJI Gogoi put out an order signed by two other judges saying this was part of a “conspiracy”. A three-judge in-house committee was constituted to probe the allegations.
Human rights lawyer Indira Jaising too slammed the decision, especially the decision not to disclose the findings of the enquiry. A previous sexual harassment case filed by Jaisingh against a sitting High Court of Karnataka judge — ‘Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003) 5 SCC 494’ — was specifically mentioned in bold, to explain why the latest finding was not being made public.
Slamming the whole incident as a scandal, Jaising posted on Twitter that the case mentioned was a pre-RTI era case. She said that it is a flimsy excuse and demanded the disclosure of the findings in public interest.