A 35-year-old woman who used to work as a junior court assistant at the Supreme Court of India wrote to 22 judges of the court on Friday, April 19, alleging that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11, 2018, reported Indian media outlet The Scroll.
“He hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go,” she wrote in an affidavit sent with a covering letter. “He told me ‘hold me’, he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
In response to questions sent to the Chief Justice of India, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court of India sent an email denying the allegations, calling them “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous”.
“It is also very possible that there are mischevious forces behind all this, with an intention to malign the institution,” the email said.
In the affidavit, the woman said after she rebuffed the Chief Justice of India, she was moved out of his residence office, where she had been posted in August 2018. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in the inquiry report, was that she had taken casual leave for one day without approval.
The harassment did not stop at her dismissal, the former junior court assistant alleged in the sworn affidavit. It engulfed her entire family, she claimed. Her husband and brother-in-law, both of whom are head constables in Delhi Police, were suspended on December 28, 2018, for a criminal case involving a colony dispute dating back to 2012 that had been mutually resolved.
On January 11, a police officer accompanied the woman to the Indian Chief Justice’s residence where, she alleged, Justice Gogoi’s wife asked her to apologise by prostrating on the floor and rubbing her nose at her feet. She followed the instructions, even though she did not know what the apology was for.
Despite the apology, her disabled brother-in-law, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court on October 9 as a temporary junior court attendant under the discretionary quota of the Chief Justice of India, was served a termination letter on January 14. No reasons were given.