NEW DELHI :
The former court employee who had levelled sexual harassment charges against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday withdrew from participating in the panel probing the matter, saying its approach had caused her “fear, anxiety and trauma".
The woman, who cannot be named, cited four reasons for her decision—denial of a lawyer/support person, denial of video/audio recording of the proceedings, denial of a copy of her statement recorded in the court, and denial of her request to be informed about the procedure being followed by the panel. This, she said, made her doubt the panel’s objective to provide her justice.
“I had hoped that the approach of the committee towards me would be sensitive and not one that would cause me further fear, anxiety, and trauma," she said.
The former junior court officer said that on 26 April, the first day of the hearing, the judges on the panel told her that it was going to be an informal proceeding and not an in-house committee proceeding or a proceeding in line with the Vishakha Guidelines on sexual harassment.
She was also told not to share the details of the proceedings with the media or even her lawyer Vrinda Grover, she said. On the same day she had placed an application before the panel requesting for call detail records, as well as WhatsApp call and chat records of the “two relevant mobile numbers" but this was only accepted on 30 April, the former court employee said.
She alleges that the panel repeatedly asked her for the reason for the delay and also warned of ex-parte proceedings if she withdrew from the in-house proceedings.
She said that because of her impaired hearing she has not been able to follow the dictations with respect to her statements being taken on record.
She also said that post her hearings she was followed by unidentified men on a motorcycle and that she fears for her safety. On 19 April, the woman who worked at Gogoi’s residential office had written a detailed affidavit to all Supreme Court judges, narrating alleged incidents of sexual harassment and subsequent alleged victimization.
Her complaints are being heard by a panel comprising S.A. Bopde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra. Gogoi strongly rejects the allegations made against him.