Supreme Court employee who complained against former CJI reinstated

Vrinda Grover.  

A former woman employee of the Supreme Court who lodged a sexual harassment complaint against then sitting Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has been reinstated.

Senior lawyer Vrinda Grover, who had legally aided the complainant, reacted to the development in a written statement that “the Supreme Court staffer stands vindicated.”

“Her reinstatement with full back wages is an acknowledgement of the truth of her affidavit complaining of sexual harassment and the systematic victimisation suffered by her and her family,” Ms. Grover stated.

The lawyer added that “the unfinished business of justice and accountability however remains. At an institutional level, this incident has once again highlighted the absence of an independent and effective mechanism to address a complaint of sexual harassment against a judge of the Supreme Court.”

In May 2019, an in-house committee led by the present Chief Justice of India, Justice Sharad A. Bobde, had found “no substance” in the sexual harassment allegations levelled by the woman against Justice Gogoi.

The committee report however continues to remain confidential. The Supreme Court had said that the report, as part of the in-house procedure, would not be placed in the public domain.

The inquiry was by nature purely preliminary, ad hoc and only for the purpose of getting information. The report was “wholly confidential” and existed “only for the purpose of satisfaction that such a report has been made.”

At the time, the complainant had reacted to the committee’s conclusion in a statement, saying “today, my worst fears have come true, and all hope of justice and redress from the highest court of the land have been shattered.”

The roller-coaster hearings of the committee had even seen the woman “walk out” of the hearings after she was refused a lawyer of her choice. The committee had then chosen to carry on ex-parte without her and went on to examine Chief Justice Gogoi, which was a first in the country’s history.

The crisis had tested the Supreme Court after several online websites published the excerpts from the woman’s complaint made out in affidavit form and sent out to 22 judges of the Supreme Court.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 5:35:45 PM |

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