Ranjan Gogoi
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi

Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah on Sunday questioned the process followed by the three-judge in-house Supreme Court probe panel formed for investigating the allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi made by a former woman employee of the apex court.

According to reports, while speaking on the topic ‘Judging the judges-need for transparency and accountability’ at the 27th Rosalind Wilson Memorial Lecture on Sunday, Shah claimed that there are certain loopholes in the judgement followed for giving clean chit to the CJI.

The in-house panel in an April 20 Supreme Court hearing said that it did not find any substance in the allegations of a former Supreme Court employee who had accused CJI Gogoi of sexually harassing her. The in-house panel later dismissed the complaint.

Shah pointed out the judges of the in-house panel was selected by the CJI himself and he himself had sat as judge in his own case

He also stated that although three judges attended the April 20 hearing in the Supreme Court, only two out of the three judges had signed the order that emerged out of the hearing.

Shah added that the CJI himself had excused himself from signing the order that emerged out of his own case.

He also termed the April 20 hearing in the Supreme Court as ‘unusual’ as it took place without a petition having been moved.

The former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court also questioned the inquiry process and stated that the complainant was not allowed to be represented by a lawyer and in-house process was not explained to her.

He also stated that the complainant had withdrawn from the case.

By pointing out the loopholes in the April 20 hearing, Shah claimed that the entire process was full of secrets and is questionable.

He also demanded a relook for accountability system of judges in India.

During the lecture, Shah criticized the Collegium System and claimed that the process of appointment of judges through this system are bartered between members of the collegium and can even take place over a cup of tea.

Shah wished that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for appointment of judges is brought back and claimed that there are many loopholes in the Collegium System.

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