Nagpur : Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi today strongly denied allegations of sexual harassment and said the independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it “cannot be made a scapegoat”. A special bench of the Supreme Court today called an emergency hearing after a former employee at the top court, in an affidavit to several Supreme Court judges, alleged she was sexually harassed by the chief justice.
“This is unbelievable. I don’t think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations,” the Chief Justice, who was heading the three judge bench, said during the hearing, and added he will not pass any orders and the senior most judge Arun Mishra will dictate the order.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi alleged a conspiracy behind the allegations and said, “There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice”.
The Chief Justice said the allegations had cropped up as he is scheduled to hear important cases in the Supreme Court next week. “I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear… Things have gone too far. Judiciary cannot be made a scapegoat,” he said.
Chief Justice Gogoi said since there can be no corruption allegations against him, “people have to find something and they have found this”.
“After 20 years of selfless service as judge, I have bank balance of Rs. 6.80 lakh. My peon has more money than that… Is this a reward the Chief Justice gets after 20 years,” he asked.
The Chief Justice said the woman who made the allegations against him has a criminal background and that there are two police cases against her.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the allegations appear to be a blackmail technique.
The special bench of Chief Justice Gogoi, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna refrained from passing any judicial order “at this stage” and said they “leave it to the discretion of the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly.”
“Faith of people in judiciary will be shaken by such unscrupulous allegations,” Justice Mishra said.
The top court said further judicial orders will be passed at a later stage.