A day after the Supreme Court's in-house panel gave a clean chit to the Chief Justice of India, protests broke out outside the court today. A group of lawyers and activists were detained by the police after they raised slogans questioning the clearance of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
A 35-year-old former Supreme Court staffer has accused the Chief Justice of sexual harassment on two occasions in October last year. She has also accused the Chief Justice of targeting her family.
In a press statement of over 100 words, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court said the panel found "no substance" in the allegations and cited a 2003 judgement as a precedent to not make the report public.
In response, the complainant has called this clean chit "gross injustice" and went on to say that she is "extremely scared and terrified".
"This allegation is not against any ordinary person in the country, it is against the Chief Justice of the country and the Chief Justice himself constitutes the bench, he presides over a bench where this matter is taken up and there are all manner of allegations that are made, there are remarks that are made in the absence of the complainant," said Anjali Bhardwaj, RTI activist, who was detained by the police for protesting outside the Supreme Court.
“The committee violates all the principles and spirit of the prevention of sexual harassment act under Vishakha guidelines. It has to be headed by a woman... there are no guidelines that are shared with the complainant... she is not allowed a lawyer, nor anyone else to support here," added the activist.
Indira Jaising, senior advocate, said, “I am absolutely convinced that this is not the end of this jury. I have no doubt in mind that this report will be challenged and let me tell you it is capable of being challenged by anybody, not just by the aggrieve person and I would say that as a practitioner of more than 50 years in the legal profession working on issues of sexual harassment, I will raise the issue of the very credibility of the functioning of this court."