Attorney General of India KK Venugopal (File Image)
Attorney General of India KK Venugopal (File Image)

AG sought external members in SC probe panel in CJI case

ANI | Updated: May 10, 2019 19:32 IST

New Delhi [India], May 10 (ANI): Amidst a controversy over the procedure adopted for the in-house inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Attorney General of India K K Venugopal had written to senior apex court judges seeking nomination of external members in the panel to ensure a transparent and fair probe.
However, on Friday he rubbished media reports suggesting differences between him and the Central government and that it had forced him to write to the judges that his views were personal and not that of the Central government.
Venugopal told ANI that that he had written a letter to some senior judges of the Supreme Court in 'personal capacity'. "But I had sent a letter in personal capacity before the appointment of the present Committee", he added.
He also said that other than this part the "statements of media report are inaccurate".
On April 22, Venugopal has written a letter to the some of the senior-most judges including the Chief Justice of India stating that an external member should be included in the committee to examine sexual harassment charges against the CJI.
He asserted that he had sent the copy of the letter to four other senior most judges of the Supreme Court before the in-house panel was constituted.
The top court had constituted a three-member Committee consisting of Justices Bobde, NV Ramana and Indra Banerjee after a former woman court staffer who had worked in the home office of the CJI had complained to the judges of the Supreme Court that Justice Gogoi had made sexual advances to her.
Later, Justice Ramana recused from being a part of the committee after the complainant sought his recusal saying he was close the CJI. Justice Indu Malhotra replaced Ramana.
However, the constitution of the committee came under criticism with a number of jurists and lawyer including women advocates saying the probe panel was not in accordance with the Visakha guidelines propounded by the apex court on the basis of which parliament had also passed a law.
While the SC has an in-house procedure for dealing with complaints, it has no precedent nor a provision for dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment against the CJI.
On May 6, the three-judge in-house Committee of the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment complaint allegation levelled against him by a former court staffer who said she was not just highly disappointed and dejected but felt "gross injustice" has been done to her. (ANI)