Indira Jaising questions court's handling of allegations against CJI

Indira Jaising questions court
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Senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising has questioned the manner in which the Apex court addressed allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

New Delhi: Senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising has questioned the manner in which the Apex court addressed allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi. "Sexual harassment is a very serious matter.

Regardless of the fact that he is the Chief Justice, the ordinary law of the land must take its course," Jaising said. "The woman in question is entitled to due process of law and entitled to be heard. Her version is supported by a sworn affidavit and must be investigated."

An employee of the court sent letters to 22 sitting judges of the Supreme Court detailing her experiences and alleging sexual harassment and victimisation by Chief Justice Gogoi.

On Saturday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Gogoi, held a special hearing. In that CJI Gogoi claimed the allegations were a "plot" to "deactivate the office of the CJI" and an attempt to threaten the independence of the judiciary.

Jaising said that she "fails to understand" why a special bench was constituted on a Saturday and why the Chief Justice himself was a part of the bench.

"No man can be a judge in his own cause after all. Why he handpicked one of the junior most judges Justice Sanjeev Khana who leapfrogged over 33 judges senior to him? Why were the seniormost judges not chosen if at all a Bench was to be constituted today? Why could this not wait till Monday?

Indira Jaising noted that there is no procedure to enquire into sexual harassment allegations against a Chief Justice and hence the complainant is entitled to demand an impartial high-power investigation.

"In my opinion, it is in the best interest of the Chief Justice of a India to have the matter impartially investigated by a high power committee.

This is needed in interest of maintaining the credibility of the institution as a whole." The senior advocate was also perplexed by the role the government had to play in this and why CJI Gogoi was defended by the Attorney General and Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta.

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