New Delhi: Delhi skipped her convocation ceremony on Saturday to protest the manner in which sexual harassment charges were handled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Her gold medal was to be awarded by the CJI himself.
Surbhi Karwa told The Indian Express: “Everything I learnt in the classroom put me in a moral quandary over the last few weeks on whether I should receive the award from CJI Gogoi. The institution he heads failed when sexual harassment allegations were made against him.”
“I am seeking answers for myself on the role lawyers must play in guarding Constitutional values, and that is something even the CJI mentioned in his speech,” she added.
On Saturday when her name was announced by Registrar Prof (Dr) G S Bajpai, he said: “Unfortunately, she is not here. We will award her the medal in absentia.”
For her Master's degree, Karwa specialised in Constitutional law. Her thesis was a feminist critique of the Constituent Assembly debates. It revolved around the central question -- Is the Constitution a feminist document?
Karwa made it clear she has just refused to attend the convocation and not denied the award.
“Getting the gold medal is an honour and I am thankful to my parents and teachers who have helped me along the way. Receiving it from one person is not as important as getting it,” Karwa said.
Apart from CJI Gogoi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were among those present as chief guests in the event.
In April, a former employee of the apex court accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment and subsequent persecution after she resisted his alleged sexual advances.
She sent a 29-page affidavit to all judges of the Supreme Court and demanded an inquiry into the actions of Gogoi.
Justice Gogoi rubbished the allegations as “unbelievable” and hinted that there may have been a “bigger force behind this” that wanted to “deactivate the office of CJI.”
However, the Supreme Court appointed in-house committee cleared him of charges, finding “no substance".
The complainant had withdrawn from the proceedings on being denied a lawyer.