Justice NV Ramana recuses from panel looking into sexual harassment allegations against CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Justice NV Ramana recuses from panel looking into sexual harassment allegations against CJI Ranjan Gogoi

Shruti Mahajan

Justice NV Ramana has recused himself from the three-member committee formed to inquire into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, according to sources.

As per sources, Justice Ramana has officially written to the Supreme Court Registry to recuse from the panel constituted earlier this week.

This development comes after the woman who made the allegations voiced concerns regarding the members of the panel which also comprises Justices SA Bobde and Indira Banerjee. Specifically, the complainant had expressed apprehensions regarding Justice Ramana’s presence on the panel, owing to his proximity to CJI Gogoi.

After the constitution of the panel, a notice was reportedly sent to the complainant requiring her presence before the Committee. However, in a letter addressed to the members of the panel, the complainant raised a number of concerns.

In her letter, a copy of which is with Bar & Bench, the complainant has stated that Justice Ramana is like a family member to CJI Gogoi and frequents his residence often. Owing to this close relationship, she was of the view that her complaint was not likely to get an objective and fair hearing.

CJI Gogoi has been accused of sexual assault by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the  Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the former Court officer has alleged that following the sexual assault incident, she was unceremoniously terminated from her post. Moreover, she alleges that a trail of harassment has followed since her termination, culminating in a frivolous FIR filed in March this year against herself and her family.

On Saturday, CJI Gogoi denied the allegations and further stated that the complainant has criminal antecedents.

Subsequently, the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman, and Deepak Gupta was constituted to take up the matter. Today, the Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the statements made by advocate Utsav Bains, who alleged that the sexual harassment charges are part of a conspiracy.

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