Vol. XLIII No. 20 May 19, 2019

Inquire Sexual Complaint Against CJI, Afresh

LAWYERS have expressed displeasure to the conduct of a sexual harassment complaint against the CJI by an ex-staffer. Justice has not been imparted and the procedure adopted was faulty. The manner in which ad-hoc committee of three judges of the Supreme Court has conducted the inquiry in respect of allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, speaks about the hush up done to the particular case.

 It is trite, that ‘justice should not only be done, but also seems to be done’. Integrity of the whole judiciary was at stake. The world was keenly watching how the Supreme Court as an institution would conduct itself in these circumstances. The signal which has gone out was avoidable.

The All India Lawyers Union(AILU) has termed the proceedings of the inquiry committee as highly unfair and unjust. Since the findings of ‘no substance' in the allegations handed out by the committee is in public domain, and the complainant has also made it public the reasons of withdrawing herself from the proceedings, it is appropriate for the institution itself to correct the error.

The AILU strongly feels that the concerns raised by the complainant that committee not informing her about its procedure; denying her legal assistance; asking her not to share the proceedings even with her lawyer; not recording the proceedings; not providing her the copy of her disposition, are violations of principles of natural justice.

The AILU demands that the full court on its administrative side reject this inquiry  and constitute another inquiry committee under the Supreme Court ( Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Guidelines 2015, with a mandate that the complaint of sexual harassment against CJI  be inquired in to afresh, ensuring principles of natural justice.