The Supreme Court Thursday asked its retired Judge Justice A K Patnaik to conduct an inquiry into a Delhi-based lawyer’s allegations that there was a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on sexual harassment charges.
A special bench of Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta today asked the CBI Director, IB Director and Delhi Police Commissioner to cooperate with Justice Patnaik whenever need be.
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The court, however, clarified that Justice Patnaik will not go into the issue of sexual harassment allegations against the CJI. The court has instituted an in-house inquiry committee of three sitting judges to look into the allegations of sexual harassment made against Chief Justice of India. Meanwhile, Justice N V Ramana, who is part of the 3-member inquiry panel headed by Justice S A Bobde, has opted out of the panel, PTI quoted sources as saying.
The development comes a day after a former apex court woman employee, who levelled the allegations against the CJI, wrote a letter to the panel expressing reservation over the inclusion of Justice Ramana.
Advocate Utsav Bains has claimed there was a conspiracy by ‘fixers and disgruntled employees’ of the top court to “frame the CJI in a false case of sexual harassment.” Bains has claimed that he was offered money to take up the case of a former junior court assistant, who has levelled sexual harassment allegations against the CJI, and to organise a press conference to make the matter public.
The Supreme Court earlier today hit out at what it said were “systematic” attempts to influence the course of justice delivery and said, “time has come when we have to tell the rich and powerful of this country – you cannot run this court”.
The remarks were made by Justice Arun Mishra who was sitting with Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta while hearing allegations by the lawyer.
A special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it is anguished with the way the judiciary has been treated for the past three-four years. “The way this institution is treated in last few years we must say that we will not survive if this will happen,” a bench also comprising Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta had said.
“Don’t think Supreme Court can be run by any remote power from any corner of the earth, whether by political power or economic power”, Justice Mishra fumed. “This is a systematic game…So many things have not come out…People of this country must know the truth”, Justice Mishra continued.
Bains had filed an affidavit following the unprecedented hearing on Saturday during which Justice Gogoi had said some “bigger force” was behind the sexual harassment allegations as they wanted to “deactivate” the CJI’s office.
On April 20, CJI Gogoi had convened an “extraordinary” sitting of the court following reports 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”.