'I Have a Right to Know': Woman Who Accused CJI of Sexual Harassment Demands Copy of Probe Report
The three-member panel comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra had dismissed the charges against the CJI, but said the report was not “liable to be made public” as it was an informal inquiry.
File photo of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi with his wife Rupanjali Gogoi. (PTI)
New Delhi: A day after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was given a clean chit by the Supreme Court’s in-house inquiry panel in the sexual harassment case, the woman complainant has demanded that the committee also give its report to her so she knows the basis for how her complaint was found to have "no substance".
The three-member panel comprising Justices SA Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra had dismissed the charges against the CJI. The SC, in a statement, said the report was given to Justice Gogoi and the next seniormost judge of the top court, but it was not “liable to be made public” as it was an informal inquiry.
Questioning how even the complainant can be denied access to the report, the woman, a former junior court assistant, said she has the right to see the report as well as any depositions made by any witnesses and any evidence that was considered by the committee to dismiss her complaint.
“I have a right to know how, why and on what basis have your Lordships found my complaint to have ‘no substance’,” she wrote in her letter to the panel.
Her demand comes amidst growing criticism of the apex court over how it has handled the case. On Tuesday, 55 lawyers and activists were detained by police for protesting outside the Supreme Court for the clean chit to the CJI.
Saying that the panel’s proceedings had lacked transparency from the beginning, the complainant said she was treated as an outsider, not informed of the procedure, or her basic rights and obligations with regard to the inquiry proceedings.
“I am shocked that Committee has come to an adverse finding against me despite the fact that I was compelled to withdraw from the Committee since the committee did not observe even the most basic principles of natural justice,” she wrote.
The woman had withdrawn after the third in-chamber sitting on April 30 after voicing several concerns with way the hearing was being conducted.
She said that the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 in Section 13 provides that both parties have a right to receive a copy of the report. She also said that the public has the right to this information under the RTI Act.
“Not providing a copy to the complainant while holding her complaint to be unfounded would be a violation of the principles of natural justice and a complete travesty of justice,” she added.
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