Sexual harassment charges against CJI: Supreme Court in-house panel gives clean chit Ranjan Gogoi
A three-member in-house committee of the Supreme Court has found no substance in the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The panel headed by Justice SA Bobde "has found no substance" in the allegations by a former woman employee of the apex court.
A notice by the office of Supreme Court Secretary General also said that the report of the committee constituted as part of the In-House procedure is not liable to be made public. The In-House Inquiry Committee has submitted its report dated May 5, 2019 in accordance with the In-House procedure, to the next senior judge, after Justice Bobde who is competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely the Chief Justice of India, it said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking direction to the CBI to lodge an FIR into the alleged conspiracy to "fix" Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in a "concocted, false sexual harassment" case and said the matter would come up for hearing in the "due course".
The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer. Advocate ML Sharma, who has filed the petition, urged the bench to list his plea for hearing on May 8.
"What is the urgency? You have filed it and it will come up for hearing," the bench said. "It will be listed in due course," it added.
Sharma, who initially urged the apex court that his plea be listed for hearing on May 8, later told the bench that he was not seeking urgent listing of the matter. He said his plea be listed for hearing before the same bench which has dealt with a matter in which a lawyer has filed an affidavit claiming larger conspiracy to frame the CJI.
Sharma has named activist lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan, Kamini Jaiswal, Vrinda Grover, Indira Jaising, Nina Gupta Bhasin and Dushyant Dave as parties in his public interest litigation (PIL).
He has alleged that the actions of some of the lawyers amounted to "contempt of court" and there was a "planned conspiracy" to defame the CJI.
It also seeks a direction to CBI to register an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against these lawyers and the NGOs run by them, to arrest them and to investigate the case since 2010.
The apex court had on April 25 appointed former apex court judge Justice AK Patnaik to hold inquiry into the allegations of larger conspiracy to frame the CJI and fixing of benches in the top court. However, the court had made it clear that inquiry by Justice (retd) Patnaik will not deal with the allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI, levelled by an ex-employee of the top court.
It had also said that outcome of the inquiry will not affect the in-house committee, which is dealing with the complaint against the CJI.
The court's order was passed while hearing advocate Utsav Singh Bains' affidavit in which the lawyer has claimed larger conspiracy to "fix" the CJI and fixing of benches in the apex court.
Bains had filed an affidavit following the unprecedented hearing on April 20 during which Justice Gogoi had said some "bigger force" was behind the sexual harassment allegations as they wanted to "deactivate" the CJI's office.
(With PTI inputs)