Demand for full court probe into charges against CJI gets louder

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AASU comes out in support of CJI Gogoi, says allegations a “conspiracy”

New Delhi, April 22 (AGENCIES) The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) on Monday expressed its “deep reservation” against the “procedural impropriety” shown by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in dealing with the sexual harassment allegations against him.

As the apex court reassembled after the weekend recess in the backdrop of the stunning allegations by a former court staffer, the SCAORA said the charges against Justice Gogoi should be dealt with as per established procedure.

The allegations cropped up against Justice Gogoi on Saturday prompting him to convene an urgent extraordinary hearing by a three-member bench headed by him during which he asserted that the charges by a former apex court staffer were “unbelievable”.

The allegations by the woman, who had worked at Justice Gogoi’s home office in Delhi, dates back to October last year.

“The allegations of the ex-employee of the Supreme Court have to be dealt with as per the established procedure of law and law must be applied in each and every case uniformly,” the top court lawyers’ body said in a resolution passed on Monday.

The Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association on its part came out in support of Justice Gogoi, claiming that the allegations were “false and fabricated”.

The association, in a one-page resolution, said it strongly condemned the “false, fabricated and baseless allegations” against the CJI which is aimed at maligning the institution of judiciary.

“The Supreme Court Employees Welfare Association on behalf of all the employees strongly condemns the false, fabricated and baseless allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi,” it said.

The SCAORA, which is a body of lawyers comprising advocates empowered by the apex court to file pleadings on behalf of parties in the top court, sought immediate appointment of a committee headed by full court of the apex court to impartially investigate and inquire into the allegations and give an independent finding.

“Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association expresses its deep reservation against procedural impropriety shown by Justice Ranjan Gogoi in the suo motu proceedings held on April 20 in the issue relating to allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Ranjan Gogoi, by an ex-Supreme Court employee,” the SCAORA resolution said.

“It is therefore resolved that the SCAORA strongly disapproves the manner in which the complaint was dealt with and seeks enquiry and action in the above matter…” it added.

The woman had 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.

All the 15 benches of the top court, meanwhile, commenced judicial proceedings at 10:45 am, 15 minutes behind the scheduled time, triggering speculation among lawyers about some urgent meetings of the judges.


AASU support for CJI Gogoi

Meanwhile, a premier student body of Assam –All Assam students Union (AASU) – on Monday came out in support of Justice Gogoi, saying the charges of sexual harassment were baseless and part of a conspiracy.

In a statement, chief advisor of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya and the organisation’s president Dipankar Nath said the allegations have surfaced at a time when the chief justice of India (CJI) was hearing several important cases, including the update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“It was a baseless allegation. The people of Assam, the Northeast and the whole country are proud of the integrity of the chief justice. We have full faith in him,” Bhattacharya said.

Nath claimed it was a conspiracy against the chief justice whose integrity is beyond doubt.

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