Sexual harassment allegation: President of India told to ask CJI to abstain from performing duties

CV News/ Monday, May 13, 2019
The Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD), a Gujarat-based rights organization has, in a memorandum, asked the President of India to intervene and protect the credibility of the Supreme Court following the recent incident of allegations of sexual harassment on the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
The memorandum says, “Today, we are facing an unprecedented crisis of credibility of the Supreme Court. In dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India, the court has failed to adhere to the principles of natural justice and follow established principles of law for the inquiry into sexual harassment allegations.”
“We stand in solidarity with the complainant”, asserts the memorandum, adding, “We strongly object to the summary dismissal of the allegations and absolving of the CJI without adherence to the norms of a fair and independent inquiry.”
It adds, “The procedure followed in this case not only stands in utter violation of the basic tenets of natural justice, but also in contravention of both the letter and spirit of Vishakha Judgement and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 that seek to recognise and mitigate imbalance of power and ensure a safe and equal environment for women at work-place.”
Expressing shock over the “blatant misuse of power exercised by high-ranking legal authorities”, the memorandum demands setting up of an independent committee to inquire into the allegations made by the complainant, who should be allowed to take the help of a lawyer to correct the imbalance of power between the parties, insisting, the CJI should abstain from performing legal and administrative duties during the course of the inquiry.
The signatories include Prakash N Shah, Dr Svati Joshi, DN Rath, Dr Neha Shah, Meenakshi Joshi, Nirjhari Sinha, Rajesh C Raval, Smita Pandya, Usha Vaghela, Tanushree Gangopadyay, Neela Jayant Joshi, AD Shukla, Dr Kanu Khadadiya, Dashrath Shrimali, Gautam Vaghela, SK Dabhi, Suryaben Shah, Mahendra Raval, Mehul Trivedi, NR Malik, Tanmay Timir, YG Goswami, Nanu Vaidya, Deena Patel, and NM Brahmbhatt.