A group of women activists and lawyers on Tuesday protested outside the Supreme Court against the procedure adopted to deal with the sexual harassment case against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Section 144 under Cr Procedure Code prohibiting gathering of four of more persons was imposed outside the apex court following the protest.
Talking to ANI, a lawyer Rakhi Sehgal said, “I feel that there was no proper procedure followed. The complainant made it clear why she was forced to withdraw from this process where they did not tell her what the procedure of the committee will be in the first place,” lawyer Rakhi Sehgal told ANI.
“They did not allow her to bring either a friend or a lawyer. They did not give her deposition copy,” she added.
Segal raised several questions, “What kind of due process is this? What message the Supreme Court judges are giving? Are judges above the law of the land?”
“No one is above the law of the land including the CJI. He must submit himself to due process,” she added.
Another lawyer said, “We are protesting because we feel that the principles of natural justice and due process has not been followed by the internal complaints committee. The girl, who is a harassed person in the case, has not been allowed to give a proper defence for herself.”
“She was appearing before the three honourable judges of the Supreme Court. The victim is hard of hearing. So she is entitled to some assistance, especially if she is appearing before three judges. She is personally affected so it is difficult to defend herself all by herself,” the lawyer added.
The lawyer further said, “She was given time but her press statement said, she was not allowed to read her statement that she had recorded.”
“Many times there are mistakes when you record a statement. So a person is allowed to read and have a copy of your statement recorded,” the lawyer added.
Another lawyer Himanjali Gautam, however, differed from the rest saying, “There are people who want to malign the top court. However, there are incidents of sexual harassment in higher places. In this case, a proper mechanism should be there and there should be transparent enquiry. She should be given a fair trial and be heard.”
She said, “When this committee was formed then the lady was against Justice Ramana, whom she alleged had friendly relations with Justice Gogoi.”
“Now when the committee had given a clean chit to Gogoi then we should not question this highest temple of justice. The decorum and respect of this institution should be maintained,” she added.
On Monday, a three-judge in-house Committee of the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the CJI in the sexual harassment complaint allegation levelled against him by a former court staffer.