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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

IWB Contemplates How System Failed Complainant In CJI Sexual Harassment Case In Twitter Chat

  • IWB Post
  •  May 8, 2019

The ongoing CJI Ranjan Gogoi row seems to be saying a lot about the charade of justice and the legal system in our country.

The 35-year-old complainant also went on to withdraw from the inquiry proceedings as she expressed “serious concerns and reservations” about getting justice. She also shared how she was not allowed the presence of a lawyer during the hearings, no video or audio recording of the committee’s proceedings exist, and no copy of the statement recorded was given to her.

To add to it, when recently more than 50 lawyers, students, and women’s rights activists gathered outside SC to protest the ‘no substance’ findings against Gogoi, Section 144 was imposed, following which the women were detained for more than four hours in the Mandir Marg police station.

Right from CJI Gogoi himself being a part of the bench that addressed the case to recordings of the case being denied to the complainant, a lot feels amiss about the case. In a country where the accused gets to draw results on the hearings of his very own case, the faith in the justice system is bound to be shaken.

However, more than faith in the faulty justice system, it is the anger that we need to focus on here; the anger for a system that has certainly failed the complainant. It is not even a question of who’s right and who’s wrong here, it’s a question of the very basic workings of the system which are being meddled with, with absolutely no consideration to the common citizen.

In a country that boasts of its RTI, is this the kind of transparency we are being promised? Isn’t it a downright mockery of our country’s legal system but more than that of those who don’t happen to be its flagbearers.

So, what happens to the right of the complainant amidst such a politically manipulated environment?

Recently, through a Twitter chat with women activists from all over the country, IWB contemplated how the legal system in India failed the complainant in the CJI sexual harassment case, the underlying implications of the same, and the disturbing silence from the government quarters.

Activists Kalpana Vishwanath, Philomena John, Chayanika, Japleen Pasricha, Shabnam Hashmi, , and Brinda Adige joined as in as we discussed the dismal condition of law and order in the country.

Here are the excerpts:

On how the system failed the complainant

NFIW on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @SafetipinApp @shafaq_insaan @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya Where did the system fail the complainant? The system has failed her and the rest of the country in every place imaginable . No due process of law was followed. No fair hearing.

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah If the system does not create confidence in its procedures through transparent mechanisms, how does a complainant who is much lower in the hierarchy feel the confidence in the process?

NFIW on Twitter

@shafaq_insaan @indianwomenblog @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah In this case the system that was supposed to safeguard the procedure, ignored it in totality. No ICC, no taking away powers from the CJI till the case was settled, the accused is allowed to make his own panel …

Kalpana Viswanath on Twitter

The system failed in many ways – the process of setting up the committee itself was flawed. There should have been an external member. https://t.co/wi6llQgo3h

 

Suneeta Kar Dhar on Twitter

Am also concerned about the #backlash on women advocates who take up such cases. #Chilling effect! https://t.co/sgFY65Ofdt

On an absolute lack of representatives from the judiciary to question the injustice

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah The senior legal officers in fact become complicit when they see a complaint as an attack on the institution.

Anjali Mehta on Twitter

@shafaq_insaan @indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Yes it’s a common enough sort of arrogance visible nowadays…equating the institution with self….

NFIW on Twitter

@shafaq_insaan @indianwomenblog @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah True. The country, the weak and the marginalized will have to pay the price for a few judges and legal officers who feel insecure.

 

On how the entire case reflects on the justice system of the country

NFIW on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah This case shows that our country is patriarchal FROM the top. The man at the top can get away with rape and molestation.Then get an entire set of judges to dismiss the victim as complainant with no substance.

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah And that is the reason that all of us are asking for an independent, fair, and transparent process. We are not wanting to vouch for either or dismiss either without that.

 

Brinda Adige on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Excatly😡. Raise ur voice against SH at Workplace, face harassment, be traumatised and extend harassment to family members.

 

On the arrogance of the Supreme Court judges

NFIW on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah The patriarchal mindset gives the judges the illusion that they are at par with gods. Just coz they are in the profession of dispensing justice, they can afford to be as whimsical as they like.

Chayanika on Twitter

@PJ_NFIW @indianwomenblog @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @BrindaAdige @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Yes it is the patriarchal mindset. Else how can anybody vouch for anyone when a complaint is made.

Brinda Adige on Twitter

@PJ_NFIW @indianwomenblog @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah They r strong in number, class & caste. They have extended support systems via corporates, politicians… corruption is rarely called out and inspected… Compromises made not reviewed by any robust Ombudsman.

 

On how to interpret the silence from the ruling party and the opposition in the entire row

NFIW on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @BrindaAdige @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah the silence of the government is a deafening endorsement of the culprits. all laws, rules, procedures can be flouted with impunity …. our government is giving it tacit support.

Kalpana Viswanath on Twitter

The silence is deafening https://t.co/UFwjedAQlT

Kalpana Viswanath on Twitter

It is also disappointing that there were two women on the committee https://t.co/UFwjedAQlT

https://twitter.com/BrindaAdige/status/1126036156221517824

 

On how to break the barriers of patriarchy and enable women to get justice from the law and order department

Anjali Mehta on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @BrindaAdige @shafaq_insaan @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Many many more women judges. Let people get the feel of women in powerful positions, women on top, and then bullying them will be more difficult.

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @BrindaAdige @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah I think this is a long battle. It requires a fundamental transformation. It is changing for sure. Else how would a junior staff even have the courage to stand up against the CJI?

Kalpana Viswanath on Twitter

I believe we are also facing a backlash against more and more women breaking silences. We need to recognise that change will not come easily. As Audre Lorde, the poet said ” The Masters tools will not dismantle the masters house” https://t.co/hoGiUlIGEX

Suneeta Kar Dhar on Twitter

The #change will come. #Rise #Resist #Educate #Empower. signing off. Thanks. https://t.co/ArQKZxN9YM

 

On the power of protest against the imbalance in power in the context of the current case

NFIW on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @shafaq_insaan @BrindaAdige @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Assembly is a civil solution. A shaky government, particularly in this case, would not like to see women coming out and demanding their share of justice. It disbalances their power and control mechanism.

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @BrindaAdige @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Continuing to protest is the only way that we have with us. The more of us join in, the stronger is our impact. Else the normative systems of the powerful anyways prevail.

Chayanika on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @PJ_NFIW @BrindaAdige @SafetipinApp @japna_p @TheRestlessQuil @chasingiamb @nikita1712 @shreyamunot @ShabnamHashmi @Anjmeh @SProgra1 @CSR_India @ArchanaAdya @WeEmpowerHER @ranjanakumari @menon_rajini @suneetadhar @JulieThekkudan @MaimoonaMollah Only the ones with less power need to protest. The powerful have the system to play around with. Curbing of protests is a certain way of destroying democracy. Dissent protects democracy.

 

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