According to news published in scroll.in, A 35-year-old woman who used to work as a junior court assistant at the Supreme Court of India wrote to 22 judges of the court on Friday, April 19, alleging that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11, 2018.
“He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go,” she wrote in an affidavit sent with a covering letter. “He told me ‘hold me’, he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
In response to questions sent to the Chief Justice of India, the Secretary General of the Supreme Court of India sent an email denying the allegations, calling them “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.
“Its is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution,” the email said.
In the affidavit, the woman said after she rebuffed the Chief Justice of India, she was moved out of his residence office, where she had been posted in August 2018. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in the inquiry report, was that she had taken casual leave for one day without approval.
The harassment did not stop at her dismissal, the former junior court assistant alleged in the sworn affidavit. It engulfed her entire family, she claimed. Her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom are head constables in Delhi Police, were suspended on December 28, 2018, for a case involving a colony dispute dating back to 2012 that had been mutually resolved.
On January 11, a police officer accompanied the woman to the Chief Justice’s residence where, she alleged, Justice Gogoi’s wife asked her to apologise by prostrating on the floor and rubbing her nose at her feet. She followed the instructions, even though she did not know what the apology was for.
Despite the apology, her disabled brother-in-law, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court on October 9 as a temporary junior court attendant under the discretionary quota of the Chief Justice of India, was served a termination letter on January 14. No reasons were given.
On March 9, the former junior court assistant and her husband were at their ancestral village in Rajasthan, when a team of Delhi police showed up, wanting to take them back for questioning in a case based on a cheating complaint against her. The allegation was that she had taken Rs 50,000 from the complainant in 2017, promising to secure a job for him in the Supreme Court, but had failed to keep her word.
The next day, not only were she and her husband detained at the Tilak Marg police station, so were her brother-in-law, his wife and a male relative, the affidavit stated. The affidavit alleges that they were subjected to verbal and physical abuse, their hands and legs were cuffed, and they were denied food and water for nearly 24 hours.
Video footage showing the woman’s husband in handcuffs at the police station has been sent to the Supreme Court judges, as part of the annexures to the affidavit.