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

    Newsclick Report

    May 2, 2019

    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


    First published in Newsclick.

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