A former Supreme Court employee who made allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi today appeared before an in-house probe panel that is looking into her complaint.
The three-member panel, headed by Justice SA Bobde, conducted its first in-chamber sitting during which the woman and the secretary general of the top court appeared before it, an official source said.
The source said the secretary general was present before the panel, also comprising two women judges - Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee - with all documents and materials.
During the hearing, only the woman was present and the secretary general was not privy to the proceedings, the source said.
An advocate who accompanied the woman to the top court was also not part of the proceedings, the source said, adding that next date of the hearing would be fixed by the panel shortly.
On April 23, Justice Bobde had said the in-house procedure did not contemplate representation of advocates on behalf of parties as it was not a formal judicial proceeding. He had clarified that there was no time frame to complete the inquiry and the course of action will depend on "what comes out of the inquiry" which will be "confidential".
Justice Indu Malhotra was on Thursday appointed member of the committee after Justice NV Ramana recused himself.
The development followed the complainant's letter to the panel on Wednesday, expressing reservation over the inclusion of Justice Ramana on the ground that he is a close friend of the Chief Justice.
In the letter, she had also raised question over the presence of only one woman judge - Indira Banerjee - in the panel. According to her, it was not in accordance with the Vishaka guidelines.
Justice Ramana, while recusing himself, had termed as "baseless and unfounded" the "aspersions" cast by the woman on him. He said he recused only to "avoid any suspicion that this institution will not conduct itself in keeping with the highest standards of judicial propriety and wisdom".