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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Restrict media from reporting harassment allegations against CJI: plea in Delhi HC

The petition has sought direction to the Union ministries of Law and Justice and Information and Broadcasting, the Delhi government, the Press Council of India, the Delhi Police Commissioner, and the operations head of WhatsApp, Google, YouTube and Linkedin and the website scroll.in.

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | April 27, 2019 2:21:51 am
Supreme Court, CJI Ranjan Gogoi, justice ranjan gogoi, CJI Ranjan Gogoi Sexual harassment, CJI Ranjan Gogoi MeToo, CJI Ranjan Gogoi sexual harassment complaint, SC Sexual harassment complaint, MeToo movement, SC Metoo movement, #metoo movement, cji sexual harrassment case, indian express Chief justice of india Ranjan Gogoi at the Book release function of coffee table book on Architecture of Justice in Delhi. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

A plea was filed in Delhi High Court on Friday seeking direction to the government and the Press Council of India to restrain TV channels, newspapers and social media platforms from publishing or telecasting the allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman employee of the Supreme Court.

The plea seeking “immediate restriction on media houses and news channel from further telecasting of the allegations against the CJI” was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, who listed it for hearing on Monday. A group of lawyers, representing the Anti-Corruption Council of India, moved the court for urgent listing of the matter on the ground that publication of allegations against the CJI is a “direct hit on Indian judicial system”.

The petition has sought direction to the Union ministries of Law and Justice and Information and Broadcasting, the Delhi government, the Press Council of India, the Delhi Police Commissioner, and the operations head of WhatsApp, Google, YouTube and Linkedin and the website scroll.in.

The apex court has constituted an in-house inquiry committee to look into the allegations. The panel met on Friday. The plea, filed through B R Harish Babu, authorised signatory of the trust, stated that a “false affidavit filed by the dismissed employee of the office of CJI cannot be built as a pillar to put allegations on the Chief Justice of India”. It stated that unless the allegations are proven against the CJI in the committee’s inquiry, the media should be restricted from “advertising and besmirching the image of the CJI” and the judiciary.

The plea, filed through advocates Hussain Mueen Farooq and B Sudha, also stated that the petitioner “strongly suspects involvement of anti-national elements” in this act. It further said that 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”.

The plea also stated said that some elements are bent upon undermining the office of higher judicial institutions.

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