The Delhi High Court Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain the media from publishing allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former Supreme Court employee.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani disposed the plea filed by an NGO saying that the top court is seized of the matter and various orders have been passed, including directing initiation of certain inquiry.
Once the top court is seized of the matter interference in the matter by this court is not called for, the bench said.
“We have considered the contentions advanced and we are of the considered view that when the issue is pending consideration before the Supreme Court in the suo motu writ petition…and the Supreme Court has already expressed itself…, judicial propriety and discipline require that this Court should not interfere in the matter at all, when the matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court.
“In view of the above we see no reason to make any indulgence in the matter and, accordingly, we refrain from exercising jurisdiction,” the high court said.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General of India Maninder Acharya, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that the apex court is already seized of the matter and the question of restraining the media was raised before it.
The NGO Anti Corruption Council of India had said publication of allegations against the CJI directly hit the Indian judicial system.
The petition had sought immediate restriction on the media from further telecasting or publishing the allegations till conclusion of the three-judge panel’s inquiry.
The allegations levelled by the former woman employee of the Supreme Court are being inquired into by a three-judge panel of the apex court which held its first proceeding on Friday last.
Besides electronic and print media, the plea had also sought directions for restraining the social media platforms.
The petition had arrayed as parties the ministries of law and justice and information and broadcasting, the Delhi government, the Press Council of India and Delhi Police Commissioner.
The plea had alleged that it suspects involvement of “anti-national elements” in this act and if publication of these allegations is not restricted, “people will lose faith in the Indian judicial system”, and the “vast damage” caused to the nation and its people would be “irreparable”.