CJI sexual harassment charge: AG says he wrote to SC for a ‘different’ panel

K.K. Venugopal says a media report's claim that “serious differences” arose between him and the government after the letter was “untrue and baseless”.

Updated - December 03, 2021 08:53 am IST

Published - May 10, 2019 02:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI

K.K. Venugopal

K.K. Venugopal

Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal, the Union government's highest law officer, on Friday told The Hindu  that he wrote to Supreme Court judges about the constitution of a committee quite ''different'' from the one which was eventually formed under Justice S.A. Bobde to examine the sexual harassment allegation against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi.

“I had written a letter for a committee different from the one that was constituted,” he said over the telephone.

Mr. Venugopal said he had first written on April 22, saying the committee should be composed of retired judges, and went on to send another letter the next day, this time, clarifying that he had written in his personal capacity. 

The Justice Bobde panel was formed on April 23.

Mr. Venugopal denied reports that "serious differences" arose between the government and him after the first letter as "untrue and baseless".

The Justice Bobde Committee , which gave a clean chit to the CJI, had Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee as its members. Justice Malhotra was inducted into the panel after Justice N.V. Ramana, third most senior judge in the court, recused himself from the panel, following a complaint by the woman that he was close to the CJI.

The panel had proceeded ex-parte  after the complainant, a former employee of the court, withdrew from its proceedings on April 30. The panel refused her a lawyer or a support person. Its report is confidential and has not been shared with her. It found that there was “no substance” in her allegation.

The developments follow a communication reportedly by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that the woman ought to be represented by a lawyer, or the committee should appoint an amicus curiae.

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