The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked advocate Utsav Bains to file another affidavit after he claimed of having more incriminating evidence about a larger conspiracy against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The court will hear the matter next on Thursday.
The court maintained that there is no connection between hearing on Bains’ claim and the in-house inquiry on sexual harassment allegations against the CJI.
Assuring that it will go to the root of the alleged conspiracy and try to find out the truth about the claims made by the advocate, the court added that the institution will not survive if fixers work and try to manipulate the judiciary.
The top court sought the presence of the CBI Director, IB Director and Delhi Police Commissioner after perusing materials submitted by Bains who claimed that there was a conspiracy to frame Gogoi in a sexual harassment case.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta which perused the material submitted to it by Bains in a sealed cover said, “if true, it’s a serious matter”.
The court however made it clear that this will not affect the inquiry already set up by the court into charges levelled against CJI Gogoi by a former woman staffer.
“It’s a very serious issue about the independence of system…if it can be controlled from other corners,” said Justice Mishra.
Bains, in his affidavit submitted to the court, had said he “was informed by reliable sources that certain ‘Fixers’, who claim to be engaged in illegally managing Judgments in exchange for cash are behind this plot as the Hon’ble CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers”.
Apparently touching upon this, the bench said it’s “very disturbing” to see the names of two employees who were dismissed from the court figure in connection with the controversy.
Referring to their dismissal, Justice Mishra elaborated “this action has been taken by CJI for first time in country. It has been happening before. But no CJI had the courage to it before…If there is collusion of employees, it’s very serious. If he (CJI) is taking action without looking at anyone, it shows his independence”.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mooted an SIT inquiry monitored by the court. “Let this be investigated thoroughly…Let an SIT be constituted…Since it also involves employees of the court’s Registry etc, it should be under your Lordships”, Mehta told the bench.
Bains, however, opposed this and said he favoured a judicial inquiry as investigative agencies have been misused in the past.
On April 20, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had convened an “extraordinary” sitting of the court following reports in some online portals about sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former woman staffer against him.
He had then termed the charges as “unbelievable” and an attempt by a “bigger force to undermine the independence of the judiciary and deactivate the office of the CJI”.
In his affidavit filed in the case considered by the court at its special sitting on April 20, Bains claimed that he was offered money to take up the case of a former woman employee of the Court and to organise a press conference to make the matter public.
The lawyer said he was “shocked to hear the allegations and was willing to represent the said complainant but when the said Ajay further narrated the entire sequence of events and facts of the case”, he “was not convinced and found several loopholes in the said Ajay’s version of events.”
Bains said he then sought interaction with the complainant to verify the claims, it said, adding “however the said Ajay was neither prepared to bring the complainant to” his “office…nor to connect her” to him “to answer the material questions”.
Asked about his relation to the woman, “Ajay gave evasive and vague responses”, he added.
Bains said he “was informed by reliable sources that certain ‘Fixers’, who claim to be engaged in illegally managing Judgments in exchange for cash are behind this plot as the Hon’ble CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers”.