Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Saturday dismissed the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by a former Supreme Court employee against him. A three-judge bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi was constituted on Saturday after a sworn affidavit containing the allegations were sent to the residences of 22 apex court judges became public.
Alleging that there is a larger ploy at work, the CJI during the unprecedented hearing said that the independence of the Indian Judiciary is under threat.
"This is unbelievable. I don't think I should stoop low even to deny these allegation. There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate the office of CJI. I will sit on this chair and discharge my duties without any fear. After 20 years of service, my bank account has only Rs 6.80 lakh. If they could not catch me on money, they did this," CJI Ranjan Gogoi said during the hearing.
The three-judge bench comprised of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna. Furthermore, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta both were present during the hearing.
Confirming that a letter by the complainant has been received by several sitting judges, Supreme Court Secretary General Sanjeev Sudhakar Kalgaonkar said all the allegations made by the woman concerned are malafide and have no basis.
"No doubt, it is a malafide allegation," he said.
Stating that it was leaving it to the wisdom of media to act responsibly on allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, the court said the independence of judiciary is under "very, very severe" threat.
Ranjan Gogoi also made it clear that he will preside over the CJI court and discharge his judicial functions without any fear.
"I have taken this unusual and extraordinary step of sitting in court today because things have gone too far," he said.
Judiciary can't be made a scapegoat, CJI Gogoi added.
(With agency inputs)