Allegations Against CJI: Women’s Groups Back Complainant, Seek Halt to In-House Probe

Image Courtesy : Deccan Herald

Over 300 women lawyers, scholars and civil society groups have written to judges of the Supreme Court of India, expressing their solidarity with the decision of the complainant to withdraw from the in-house committee proceedings into sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.

“The reasons given by her in the letter justify her decision to abstain, especially in the context of total imbalance of power vis-a-vis her on one side and the members of highest judiciary on the other,” said a joint letter endorsed by Forum Against Oppression of Women, North East Network, People’s Union of Civil Liberties, National Federation of Indian Women, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Bebaak Collective among others.

The joint letter sought a Special Enquiry Committee consisting of “credible individuals” be constituted to conduct a thorough enquiry at the earliest and create an atmosphere of transparency and confidence for the complainant to depose, and the complainant be allowed to be represented by a lawyer/support person of her choice.

Read the full letter below:


The Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India

New Delhi

2nd May 2019

We, members of women’s groups, lawyers, scholars and civil society, stand in solidarity with the decision of the complainant to withdraw from the in-house committee proceedings into her complaint of sexual harassment at workplace, against the Chief Justice of India. The reasons given by her in the letter justify her decision to abstain, especially in the context of total imbalance of power vis-a-vis her on one side and the members of highest judiciary on the other.

Post the Complainant expressing her decision not to participate in the process, the Chief Justice of India is said to have appeared before the Committee and the Committee has decided to proceed with the enquiry ex-parte.

By this very conduct the committee has completely delegitimised itself. If the committee continues to proceed with the enquiry instead of satisfactorily concluding the matter it will raise many more questions.

We write again, calling upon the Supreme Court judges to take corrective steps and put a halt to these proceedings. If they fail to do so, not only the complainant but the citizens of this country, especially women and marginalised sections, will lose faith in the judicial system.

We are aware, that this is an extraordinary case that calls for extraordinary measures to be put in place, as this is a matter pertaining to the highest judicial authority under the constitution.

However, extraordinary measures cannot and ought not to overlook, fundamental principles of natural justice and fair hearing.

We reiterate that the constitution of the three judge Committee is inherently flawed, as the Chief Justice is senior to the three judges hearing the complaint and head of the Institution. The Committee also does not adhere to the spirit of either the 2013 Act or the Vishaka Guidelines, laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court itself in 1997. The absence of an external member, whose role is to ensure that there is no undue pressure or influence on either the complainant or the witnesses during the enquiry, casts a shadow on the intent behind and the purpose of setting up this Committee itself.

Further, failing to stipulate the procedure to be followed, terming the proceeding as an ‘informal’, and not allowing a lawyer/support person to be present, completely ignores the unequal balance of power not only between the parties but also between the complainant and the Committee itself.

The procedure established by law has not only to be followed by those subordinates to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, but by the Supreme Court itself. Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India would have no meaning otherwise.

If the highest judicial authority does not follow its own procedures and stand up in support of the less powerful, it will send a message of disquiet to all those keeping faith in the system.

In order to maintain this faith and to stand with the less powerful, the complainant in this case, we implore the present Committee to immediately stop hearing this Complaint.

We once again demand of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India:

a) A Special Enquiry Committee consisting of credible individuals be constituted to conduct a thorough enquiry at the earliest and create an atmosphere of transparency and confidence for the complainant to depose.

b) The Special Enquiry Committee should follow the norms of the IC and the principles of natural justice and accordingly conduct its enquiry.

c) The Chief Justice of India should refrain from transacting official duties and responsibilities until the completion of the enquiry.

d) The complainant must be allowed to be represented by a lawyer/support person of her choice.

Endorsed By:-

1. Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai

2. Nari Samata Manch, Pune

3. North East Network, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland

4. Labia – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective Mumbai

5. Saheli Women’s Resource Center, New Delhi

6. Bebaak Collective

7. People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra

8. National Federation of Indian Women

9. All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)

10. Nari Ekta Shakti Sangathan, Delhi

11. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

12. National Alliance of People’s Movements

13. Nirantar, A Center for Gender and Education, New Delhi

14. Sandhya Gokhale, FAOW

15. Gautam Mody, General Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative

16. Veena Gowda, Advocate, Mumbai

17. Adv Vasudha Nagaraj, Lawyer, High Court of Telangana, Hyderabad

18. Chayanika Shah, Queer Feminist Researcher and Activist, Mumbai

19. Nisha Biswas, Scientist and WSS, Kolkata

20. Dr. Veena Shatrughna, Former Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad

21. Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, Transgender RTI activist, Telangana

22. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People's Movements, Telangana

23. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL

24. Adv. Pyoli Swatija, Supreme Court of India and WSS

25. Flavia Agnes, Advocate

26. Sandhya, Progressive Association of Women, Telangana

27. V. Geetha, Historian and Writer, Chennai

28. N. Vasanti, Professor of Constitutional Law, Nalsar, Hyderaba

29. Mary E John, New Delhi

30. Uma Chakravarti, Historian, New Delhi

31. Ammu Abraham, Mumbai

32. Nandita Shah, Akshara, Mumbai

33. Meena Gopal, Mumbai

34. Hasina Khan, Mumbai

35. Shals Mahajan, Mumbai

36. Rohit Prajapati, Vadodara

37. Susie Tharu, Feminist Academic and Researcher, Avneshi, Hyderabad

38. Amit Kumar, Student, LLB, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

39. Sarah Mathews, Sankalp Women's Support Alliance

40. Bijaya Chanda, Advocate, Alipore Court, Kolkata, West Bengal

41. Nityanand Jayaraman, Writer, Social activist. Chennai.

42. Sumi Krishna, Former President (2005-08), Indian Association for Women's Studies, Bengaluru

43. Kiran Shaheen, Journalist and Feminist Activist, New Delhi

44. Uma Shankari, Farmer, Researcher on Water, Environment and Livelihoods

45. Chitra, Labia, Mumbai

46. Adv Lara Jesani, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra

47. Vandita Morarka, Founder/CEO, One Future Collective

48. Tara, Feminist Collective, Sonepat

49. Saumya Malhotra, Democracy Collective , Delhi NCR

50. Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM Lucknow,U P

51. Lovika Jaiswal, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi, Noida

52. Leena Pujari, K C College, Mumbai..

53. Vimal Bhai, National Convenor, National Alliance of People's Movements

54. B.Girija, State Project Manager, Sakhi Telangana

55. Meena Seshu and Aarthi Pai, Sangram, Maharashtra

56. Gita Chadha, Sociologist, Mumbai

57. Shruti Chakravarty, Mental Health Practitioner, Bombay

58. Nandita Narain, Associate Professor, St Stephen's College, Delhi University. Former President, Delhi University Teachers' Association and Federation of Central Universities Teachers' Associations

59. Mitra Mukherjee-Parikh, Former Head, Associate Professor, SNDTWU

60. Dr. Joseph M.T., Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, Kalina, Mumbai

61. Rukmini Banerjee, Researcher, Mumbai

62. Kabi. S, Mumbai

63. Dr V Rukmini Rao, Executive Director Gramya Resource Centre for Women, Tarnaka, Secunderabad, Telangana

64. Karuna DW, Chennai

65. Padmaja Shaw

66. Purnima Gupta, Delhi

67. Khadijah Faruqui, The Alternate Space Delhi, A Women’s Collective, New Delhi

68. Tanya Jaiswal, Modern school, Noida

69. Supriya Jain, CORO India, Mumbai

70. K Ramnarayan, Uttarakhand, India

71. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Humans Rights Activist, Mumbai

72. Bharat, Feminist Activist, Vishakha, Jaipur

73. Shahira Naim, Special Correspondent, The Tribune, Lucknow

74. Aiman Khan, Bangalore

75. Varsha Mehta

76. Roshni, Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

77. Pallavi Sobti Rajpal, Ahmedabad

78. Meher Bhoot, WDC, University of Mumbai, Mumbai

79. Kusumtai Chaudhari Mahila Kalyani C/o Snehja Rupwate

80. Anupama Potluri, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad

81. Minakshi Sanyal, Queer feminist activist, Kolkat

82. Poushali Basak, FAOW, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

83. Anita Rego, Social Researcher

84. Smita Parmar, Social Activist, Hajipur, Bihar

85. Swabhiman Lok Seva Sansthan run by Medical Mission Sisters

86. Aruna Rodrigues, Environmental and Agro-ecology, Sunray Harvesters, MP

87. Subhasat

88. Bindu Doddahatti, Advocate, Bangalore

89. Tejaswini Madabhushi, Hyderabad for Feminism

90. A. Suneetha, Senior Fellow, Anveshi Research Center for Women’s Studies

91. Dr. Asma Rasheed, Assistant Professor, EFL University

92. Sumitra Anukram, Founder of Anukram

93. Madhumita Sinha, EFL University, Hyderabad

94. Sajaya K., Independent Journalist and Social Activist, Caring Citizens Collective

95. Khalida Parveen, General Secretary Amoomat Society

96. Madhavi Mirapa, Scholar

97. Uma Bhrugubanda, EFL University, Hyderabad

98. Jayasree Subramanian, Visiting Faculty, Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education, Mumbai

99. Aileen Marques, Advocate Mumbai

100. Pratibha Shinde, Lok Sangharsh Morcha, Nandurbar, Maharashtra

101. Bittu K., Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Telangana Hijra Intersex Trans Samiti, Asawarpur, Haryana

102. Tara Murali, Architect, Chennai

103. Padma, Human Rights Activist

104. Samar Bagchi, Educationist and Former Director, Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Kolkata

105. Nandini Rao, Feminist Trainer and Activist, Women Against Sexual Violence and

State Repression, New Delhi

106. Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Activist and NAPM, UP

107. M. Mandakini, Lawyer

108. Kondaveeti Satyavati Bhumika, Hyderabad

109. Sherin B.S.,English and Foreign Languages University

110. Lawrence, President, Inigo Foundation

111. Madhurima Majumder, Assistant Professor, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development

112. Shyamala Nataraj, South India AIDS Action Programme

113. Anupama J, Counselor

114. M.Sujatha, SPERDS NGO

115. Jayna Kothari, Senior Advocate

116. Bindulakshmi, Mumbai

117. Suresh Melettukochy, Bhopal

118. Jai Sen, Researcher and Editor, New Delhi

119. Shubhada Deshmukh, Mahila Arogya Parishad, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra

120. Sana Contractor, Public Health Researcher, New Delhi

121. Nandita Gandhi, Activist, Mumbai

122. Manisha Gupte, Feminist, MASUM, Pune

123. Madhu Madhavan, Ex. JJP Member, Current PhD student from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

124. Vimalbhai, Matu Jan Sangatgan, Uttarakhand

125. Mamta Singh, Social Worker, Women Rights Activist, Lucknow, UP

126. Rama Melkote, Prof.(Retd) or Political Science, Senior Activist, Osmania

University, Hyderabad

127. S Jeevan Kumar, Human Rights Forum

128. K Sudha, Assistant Professor, DSNLU, Member, Human Rights Forum

129. K Anuradha, Human Rights Forum

130. Janaki Nair, JNU, New Delhi

131. Sujata Patel, Indian Institute of Advanced Study

132. Sukla Sen, Mumbai

133. K. Kiran Mayee, Advocate

134. V. Naga Lakshmi, Advocate

135. Mohammed Shakeel, Advocate

136. Ranjana, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Bhubaneswar

137. Kalpana Karunakaran, IIT Madras

138. Kavitha Muralidharan, Journalist, Chennai

139. Meera Velayudhan, Policy Analyst, Kochi

140. Prema Revati, Educationist

141. Rachana Mudraboyina, Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti

142. Saheli, Women’s Resource Center, New Delhi

143. Vasudha Katju, Researcher, New Delhi

144. Aisha Farooqui, Prof. (Retd) Osmania University

145. Swathy Margaret, Researcher

146. S. Ashalatha, Social Activist

147. Radhika Khajuria, New Delhi

148. Purwa Bharadwaj, Delhi

149. Ketki Ranade, Mumbai

150. Asha Achuthan, Mumbai

151. Vineeta Bal, Pune.

152. Anjali Rawat, Law Researcher

153. Anubha Rastogi, Lawyer, Mumbai

154. Madhu Bhushan

155. Aatreyee Sen, Forum for Human Rights and Justice, Himachal Pradesh

156. Pragya Joshi, PUCL, Udaipur

157. Dr. Albertina Almeida, Advocate, Goa.

158. Vennela Madabhushi, Lawyer, Bangalore

159. Anuradha Pati, Development Professional

160. Soma KP, Independent Research Scholar

161. Lata Singh, JNU

162. Urmilla Chandran, Principal Technical Writer

163. Kaneez Fatima, Activist and Librarian

164. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Feminist Learning Partnerships

165. Masooma Ranalvi, We SpeakOut

166. Srinivas Vellikad, Senior Manager, Documentation.

167. S. Seethalakshmi, Researcher

168. Lakshmi Lingam, Professor, Mumbai

169. Sunkara Rajendra Prasad, Advocate, Vijayawada

170. Vahida Nainar, Mumbai

171. Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore

172. Jayasree.A K., Professor, Community Medicine, Govt. Medical College, Kannur, Kerala

173. Shaitan Singh, Law Student, Visakhapatnam

174. Anjana Ramanathan, Advocate

175. Piyoli Swatija, Advocate

176. VS Krishna, Human Rights Forum

177. Smita Gupta, New Delhi

178. Geeta Seshu, Journalist

179. Lakshmi Krishnamurthy

180. Reva Yunus, Azim Premji University

181. Ritu Dewan, Vice President at Indian Society of Labour Economics

182. Sarojini.N, New Delhi

183. Brinelle D'souza, TISS

184. Deeptha Achar, Professor, Baroda

185. Shilpaa Anand, BITS- Pilani, Hyderabad campus

186. Shefali Jha, University of Hyderabad

187. M. Madhavi, Assistant Professor, Presidency University, Bangalore

188. Kumar Shubham Raj, Advocate, Bihar

189. Bushra Quasmi, Asst Prof, DSNLU, Visakhapatnam

190. B Syama Sundari, Dastakar Andhra

191. Abha Bhaiya, Jagori

192. Ambika Tandon, New Delhi

193. Anandhi.S, Researcher, Chennai

194. Shalini Gera, Advocate, Bilaspur High Court

195. Govind Kelkar, Senior Advisor – Women, Land & Productive Assets

196. Sharmila Sreekumar, IIT, Bangalore

197. PV Srividya, Journalist, Krishnagiri

198. K. Katyayani, Prof (Retd), Kakatitya University, Warangal

199. Deepa V health Activist, Delhi

200. Sunita Bandewar, Forum for Medical Ethics Society, Mumbai; Vidhayak Trust, Pune

201. Anuradha Kapoor, Kolkata

202. Veena Johari, Advocate, Mumbai

203. Mumtaz Sheikh, CORO Mahila Mandal federation Mumbai

204. Rohini Hensman, Writer & Researcher

205. Dr Sagari R Ramdas, Veterinary Scientist

206. Tashi Choedup, Buddhist Monastic, Human Rights Activist

207. Aditi Joshi, Mumbai

208. Amarjit Singh, Mumbai

209. Kaveri Dadhich, Mumbai

210. Padma, Independent Researcher , Mumbai

211. Shakun Doundiyakhed, Ooty

212. R. Alphonso, Mumbai

213. Neha Singh, Mumbai

214. Shewli Kumar, Mumbai

215. Bharati Kapadia, Mumbai

216. Bindhulakshmi Pattadath, Mumbai

217. Catrinel Dunca, Ahmedabad

218. Nirja Vasavada, Ahmedabad

219. Shumona Goel

220. Mani A., Kolkata

221. Kamaxi Bhate, Mumbai

222. Mridul Dudeja, Mumbai

223. Rakhi Sehgal, Labour Activist, New Delhi

224. Gayatri, Faculty, TISS, Hyderabad

225. Abhiti Gupta, Legal Activist, New Delhi

226. Maneka Khanna, Advocate, Delhi

227. Surabhi Dhar, Advocate, Delhi

228. Zeba Sikora, Advocate, Mumbai

229. Rupali Samuel, Advocate, Delhi

230. Payoshi Roy, Advocate, Mumbai

231. Archit Krishna, Advocate, Chattisgarh

232. Satnam Kaur, New Delhi

233. Reethika Ravikumar, Mumbai

234. Mini Mathew, Advocate, Mumbai

235. Sadhna Arya, University of Delhi

236. Fatima N, Tamil Nadu

237. Poorva Rajaram, Researcher, New Delhi

238. Vanessa Chishti, Jindal Law University, Sonipat

239. Esther Moraes, New Delhi

240. Niti Saxena, Lawyer, Researcher, and Activist, Lucknow

241. Tusharika Mattoo, Advocate, Delhi

242. Maulshree Pathak, Advocate Delhi

243. Shreya Munoth, Advocate, Delhi

244. Sayali Kadu, Advocate, Delhi

245. Shuchi Dwivedi, Advocate, Delhi

246. Rhea Goyal, Advocate, Delhi

247. Sowjhanya Shankaran, Advocate, Delhi

248. Anushree Malviya, Advocate, Delhi

249. Sonal Sarda, Advocate, Delhi

250. Sanya Kumar, Advocate, Delhi

251. Shreya Rastogi, Advocate, Delhi

252. Harshita Reddy, Advocate, Delhi

253. Sanjana Srikumar, Advocate, Delhi

254. Avantika, Advocate Delhi

255. Ninni Susan Thomas, Advocate Delhi

256. Nidhi Rao Gummuluru, Advocate, Delhi

257. Vasundhara Majithia, Advocate Delhi

258. Meghana Sengupta, Advocate Delhi

259. Shailiza Sharma, Advocate, Delhi High Court

260. Kanika Sood, Advocate Delhi

261. Kruti Venkatesh, Advocate, Bombay High Court

262. Bhavana Sunder, Advocate, Bombay High Court

263. Rhea Jha, Advocate, Bombay High Court

264. Devyani Kulkarni, Advocate, High Court, Bombay

265. Khusboo Agarwal, Bombay

266. Sara Ahmed, Bombay

267. Surabhi Singh, Advocate, High Court at Bombay

268. Ronita Bhattacharya, Advocate, High Court, Bombay

269. Jahnavi Vishwanath, Chennai

270. Janaki Abraham, Delhi University

271. Dimple Oberoi Vahali

272. Vandana Mahajan, A Feminist Practitioner

273. Lalita Ramdas, Educator and Citizen, Alibag, Maharashtra

274. Chitra Sinha, Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, Sweden

275. Vasudha Sawaiker, Social Justice Action Committee, Goa

276. Amita Kanekar, Writer, Goa

277. Adsa Fatima, Health Activist, Delhi

278. Dr Mira Shiva

279. Dr. Saswati Ghosh, Academic and Activist, Kolkata

280. Amita Pitre, Consultant, Public Health and Gender Justice, Mumbai

281. Gayatri Singh, Senior Advocate, Bombay High Court

282. Bindhulakshmi, Mumbai

283. Radhika Desai, Hyderabad

284. Ritu Menon, New Delhi

285. Shraddha Chickerur, Hyderabad

286. Svati Joshi, Ahmedabad

287. Aruna Burte, Pune

288. Malavika Karlekar, New Delhi

289. Sujata Gothoskar, Trade Union Activist, Mumbai

290. Nalini Nair, SEWA, Kerala

291. Sangeeta Chatterji, FAOW

292. Nisha, National Convenor, WSS

293. Ajita, National Convenor, WSS

294. Shalini, National Convenor, WSS

295. Rinchin, National Convenor, WSS

296. Hiranmay Karlekar, New Delhi

297. Rina Mukerji, Independent Journalist

298. Vibhuti Patel, Mumbai

299. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA, New Delhi

300. Swarna Rajgopalan, Chennai

301. Chittaroopa Palit, Madhya Pradesh

302. Bondita Acharya, Human Rights Activist, Assam

303. Bela Bhatia, Bastar

304. AI Sharada, Laadli, Population First

305. Amit Mitra, New Delhi

306. Sujata Mody, National Secretary, New Delhi Trade Union Initiative

307. M. Dilli, Joint Secretary, Garment and Fashion Workers Union, Chennai

308. Anju Talukdar, Independent law and development professional, New Delhi

309. Vidha Saumya, Visual Artist, Oshiwara, Mumbai

310. Jasveen Jairath, Consultant, Water and Ecology, Concerned Citizens, Hyderabad

311. Shreya Suresh, Advocate, Bangalore

312. Sowmya Khandelwal, Associate at a Law Firm, Bangalore

313. M.V. Swaroop, Advocate, Madras High Court

314. Tashi Choedip, Queer Buddhist Activist, Bodhgaga, Bihar

315. Mangla Verma, Advocate, New Delhi

316. Chitra Narayan, Advocate, Chennai

317. Anusha Ramanathan, Visiting Faculty, University of Mumbai, Consultant, TISS

318. Richa, Humsafar, Lucknow

319. Sunila Singh, Woman Human Rights Defender, New Delhi

320. Zainab, Humsafar, Lucknow

321. Afroz Jahan, Humsafar, Lucknow

322. Anurekha, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad

323. Lalita, National Alliance of Women’s Organizations, Odisha

324. Sister Lissy Joseph, National Domestic Workers Movement, Hyderabad

325. Nikhat Fatima, Journal Activist

326. Vasundhara Vedula, Mumbai

327. Swatija Manorama, Mumbai

328. Amrita Howlader, Kolkata

329. Nazia Akhter, Hyderabad

330. Swarup Beria, Guwahati

331. Arpita Jaya, Quill Foundation

332. Sheela Rahulan, Vanithakalasahithi, Trivandrum

333. Dr. Iris Koileo, Assocaite Professor (Retd.), St. Xavier’s College, Women Writers Group, Vinimaya, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala