New Delhi: A former Supreme Court staffer, who accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment, on Tuesday sought the in-house committee report which has rejected her complaint as having “no substance.” The inquiry committee, which continued its proceedings even after the complainant withdrew from the case last week, had not given her a copy of its findings. The report has not been made public either.
The court had cited a judicial precedent which had held that the Report of a Committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public”.‘If Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi can be given a copy of the ‘confidential’ inquiry report, I should be provided with one too,’’ she said in a letter to the three judges of the committee — Justices Sharad Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra. Expressing “shock” over the report, she asserted her “right to the report” as well as copies of the depositions before the committee that led it to give a clean chit to CJI Gogoi.
She said both parties have the right to receive a copy of the report under Section 13 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013. “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.” In her lengthy letter, she protested at the adverse finding against her despite the fact that she was compelled to withdraw from the committee which did not observe even the most basic principles of the procedure.
‘‘From the beginning I have been treated as an outsider, I have not been informed of the procedure, I have not been informed of my basic rights and obligations with regard to the inquiry proceedings,” said the complainant, who withdrew from the inquiry after three hearings. The committee’s decision triggered protests outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Women lawyers and members of non-profit groups, who held the protest, alleged a lack of transparency in the matter. The protesters came out openly in favour of the complainant.