File photo of the Supreme Court. (Source: PTI)

Supreme Court Bar Association Says Sexual Harassment Allegation Hearing Against CJI Was Violation Of Procedure

The hearing by a three-judge bench following sexual harassment allegations by a former court employee against the Chief Justice of India was a “violation of procedure established by law”, the Supreme Court Bar Association said Monday.

It requested the full court of the Supreme Court to take all necessary steps as may be required in law in such cases.

It further said in a statement that without prejudice to any inquiry which may be initiated as above, the full court should collate all the materials and facts with regard to the allegations from electronic, print, social media and other available sources, which may be considered in its next meeting.

“The executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association in its emergent meeting has resolved that procedure adopted for conducting the court proceedings on April 20 in the matter of allegations made by ex-employee of the Supreme Court against the Chief Justice of India is in violation of procedure established by law as well as principles of natural justice,” SCBA Secretary Vikrant Yadav said.

He further said: “The committee further resolved and requested the Full Court of the Supreme Court to take all such necessary steps as may be required in law in this regard”.

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Allegations of sexual harassment had cropped up against the Chief Justice on April 20 prompting him to convene an urgent extraordinary hearing in which he asserted that the charges by a former apex court staffer were “unbelievable” and part of a conspiracy by some “bigger force” to “deactivate” the institution.

As the allegations by the former woman staffer who had worked at Justice Gogoi’s home office in Delhi and dating back to October stunned the judiciary, the Chief Justice said he would not stoop too low, even to deny them.

Though the Chief Justice was heading the bench, he left it to Justice Mishra to take a call on passing any judicial order.

In her affidavit, copies of which were sent to the residences of 22 apex court judges, the woman described two incidents of alleged sexual harassment by Justice Gogoi days after he was appointed Chief Justice last October and her subsequent persecution.

The woman alleged that she was removed from service after she rebuffed his “sexual 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 Gogoi’s wife and made to rub her nose at her feet in the chief justice's residence, she alleged in her affidavit, adding that her disabled brother-in-law was removed from service at the Supreme Court.

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