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After allegation against CJI, many SC judges ask for male staff at houses

April 23, 2019 05:29 AM


After allegation against CJI, many SC judges ask for male staff at houses

New Delhi:

An unprecedented sexual harassment charge by a dismissed woman employee of the Supreme Court against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has led many SC judges to request all-male staff at their residential offices.

As the CJI expressed his anguish and explained the fallout of the “motivated” complaint against him to SC judges at the customary morning meeting on Monday, many expressed solidarity with him.

The meeting lasted for close to 20 minutes and CJI Gogoi said he had received requests from judges for posting only male staff at their residential offices, to avoid a potential situation of the kind in which the CJI finds himself in.

The CJI said the request for male staff at residential offices was difficult to meet as 60% of the Supreme Court staff were women. Some judges expressed apprehension about employing female law clerks who, like their male counterparts, work mostly in residential offices till late hours preparing summary of case files listed for hearing in the next few days before the judge concerned.

SC lawyers, staff bodies divided over plaint against CJI
The Supreme Court Bar Association and SC Advocates on Record Association on Monday passed resolutions criticising the CJI for violation of principles of natural justice, and demanded a probe into the complaint. Two SC advocates, Gautam Bhatia and Ashish Goel, wrote to Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, criticising BCI’s support for the CJI, and said an in-house panel should have been set up to probe the complaint. However, the SC Employees Welfare Association and SC Secretarial Staff Welfare Association passed resolutions expressing solidarity with the CJI. P 9

Need to find ways to shield future judges from scurrilous attacks: CJI

CJI Ranjan Gogoi told SC judges that this issue should be debated to devise ways and means to protect future CJIs and SC judges from what he called scurrilous attacks. Many judges shared their concern with TOI and said the allegation that the CJI had invited the dismissed junior court assistant and her husband to his home for lunch and to his swearing-in ceremony on October 3 appeared to be a bizarre attempt to show her closeness to the CJI.

“When the CJI had invited all the staff members with their spouses to the lunch and for the swearing-in ceremony, what is so special about this gesture being extended to her?” a judge asked.

Some judges said they were aware of women law clerks providing valuable assistance to judges in their residential offices, be it for research purposes or for making summaries of case files. “Since all the law clerks work till late evening, they have almost become part of the family and are often invited to have lunch and dinner at the residences of the judges. Would it be counterproductive in future? We are not sure now,” they said

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