NEW DELHI, Apr 21: The chief justice of India’s Supreme Court has been accused of sexually harassing a female assistant, and a special panel of judges called an emergency meeting on Saturday to address the allegations, Reports NYT.
In an affidavit cited by several Indian news outlets, the assistant accused Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of unwanted touching and said her family was singled out for harsh retribution after she rebuffed him.
A statement from the court given to Indian news media said that the allegations were “completely and absolutely false and scurrilous and are totally denied.”
On Friday, the woman, who is in her 30s and worked as a junior court assistant, sent her detailed affidavit to more than 20 other Supreme Court judges. In the document, she claimed that in October, Chief Justice Gogoi “hugged me around the waist, and touched me all over my body with his arms and by pressing his body against mine, and did not let go.”
She said that “he did not let go of me despite the fact that I froze and tried to get out of his embrace by stiffening and moving my body away.”
Soon afterward, she was fired, and her husband and brother-in-law, both police officers, were suspended from their jobs, the woman said.
The woman also said she was forced to apologize to the chief justice’s wife (even though she felt there was nothing to apologize for), and that she had to prostrate herself on the floor and rub her nose at the wife’s feet.
The Supreme Court, a progressive counterweight to the recent rightward shift in Indian politics, is considered one of India’s most vital public institutions and is among its busiest, hearing up to 700 legal matters every day.
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