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Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi today made an emotional appeal while responding to allegations of sexual harassment against him (In Re: Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary).
Sitting in a special bench constituted today after allegations of sexual harassment against him were published in the media, Justice Gogoi said that it was an attempt to deactivate the office of the Chief Justice of India.
“This is unbelievable. I will not stoop so low even in denying it“, said Gogoi J.
He spoke emotionally about the meagre savings he has amassed as a judge, saying,
“A bank balance of Rs. 6,80,000 is all I have.They cannot catch me on money. So they have brought this up.
After 20 years and Rs. 6,80,000 as bank balance this is the reward a Chief Justice of India gets.“
He also recounted the allegations against the complainant lady, while stating that four online publications have published the story.
“Scroll, Wire, Caravan and Leaflet [published the story]. I was given ten hours to respond to the allegations”, he said.
While alleging that it was an attempt to browbeat the judiciary, Gogoi J. made it clear that he will continue in his office till the end of his tenure.
“What I want to tell the citizens of this country is that the judiciary is under very very serious threat.
I will sit on this Bench and discharge my duties without fear or favour”, he said.
He went on to state,
“Why would any sane person want to become a judge? Reputation is all that we have. That is also under attack.“
Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta both took a very serious view of the matter.
Venugopal said that even he was attacked by another lawyer for defending the government.
“I am an officer of this Court, I was also under attack by a lawyer for defending the government. I don’t want to mention the name of the lawyer“, he said.
The Court then said that it would not pass any judicial order at the moment, since the CJI is also on the Bench and the allegations are against him.
“We are not passing any judicial order at this moment. We however ask media to show restraint, responsibility and wisdom so that independence of judiciary is not affected by baseless allegations“, the Court said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged that the Court register a case under his name and pursue the matter.
The Court said that it would look into it.
Read the order below.