- The woman felt she was not likely to get justice from the committee
- The decision about private hearings was taken by the full court
- The panel has Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee
The woman who accused Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment on Tuesday said she was boycotting the "in-house proceedings" due to "serious concerns and reservations". In a detailed statement to the media on Tuesday, she said, "I felt I was not likely to get justice from this committee and so I am no longer participating in the 3 Judge Committee proceedings".
The decision about in-house, private hearings by a three-member panel was taken last week by the full court. The three-member panel initially named was also tweaked after her objections. Justice NV Ramana, who was initially named, had withdrawn from the panel after the woman complained that he was a family friend of the Chief Justice and a second woman judge was named.
The panel now comprises Justices SA Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.
The woman said she started participating in the proceedings even though it was an "in-house committee of sitting judges junior to the CJI and not an external committee as I had requested".
But she alleged that the "atmosphere of the committee very frightening and I was very nervous because of being confronted and questioned by three Supreme Court Judges and without even the presence of my lawyer/support person".
She also said there was no audio or video recording of the proceedings as she requested and she was not given a copy of her statement.
The complainant - a former employee of the top court - had made the allegations against the Chief Justice in an affidavit sent to several judges last week.
When the panel asked her to submit a list of witnesses, the woman said all the witnesses are top court employees and they won't testify. In her statement, she alleged the panel told her that if she withdrew from the proceedings it can pass an ex-parte order.
Chief Justice Gogoi has denied the allegations, saying he is being targeted as he is slated to heat several important cases shortly.
Alleging a conspiracy, he said, "There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice". The independence of the judiciary is "under threat" and it was being made a "scapegoat" he had said.
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