APRIL 25, Thursday
* Front Page
SC firm on unearthing ‘larger plot against CJI’
Bench requests CBI, IB, Delhi Police chiefs to seize evidence
The Supreme Court on Wednesday resolved to “enquire, enquire and enquire” till it gets to the root of whether sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is part of a larger conspiracy hatched by a gang of “disgruntled employees and fixers.”
A Special Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra entertained an affidavit handed over to it in a sealed cover by a young lawyer, Utsav Singh Bains, who claimed he was enticed with money to frame the Chief Justice in a false case.
Mr. Bains said he had crucial evidence to show that a lobby was at work to bring disrepute to the Chief Justice and the judiciary.
In its four-page order, the Bench recorded that Mr. Bains named two former apex court employees, Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma, who were recently dismissed from service for allegedly doctoring a judicial order in a contempt case between Ericsson and businessman Anil Ambani.
The Bench summoned the CBI Director, Director of the Intelligence Bureau and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to the judges’ chambers at half-past noon. The judges requested the three top officials to seize relevant material supporting Mr. Bains’ affidavit.
This development comes a day after the court formed a committee of three Supreme Court judges to examine the allegations of sexual harassment raised by a former woman employee against Chief Justice Gogoi.
Confined to one aspect
The Bench clarified that its proceedings on Mr. Bains’ claims would not ‘supersede’ the in-house enquiry being conducted by the judges’ panel into the woman’s allegations. Senior advocate Indira Jaising voiced apprehensions that the judicial proceedings would negate the mandate of the judges’ committee.
However, the Bench said the court proceedings had nothing to do with the woman’s claims, but was only confined to the allegations of Mr. Bains. “The two enquiries will not prejudice each other. The judges committee is also not empowered to look into a larger conspiracy,” Justice Mishra assured.
Justice Rohinton Nariman, on the Bench, addressed Ms. Jaising: “We are not hearing anything on what happened on Saturday (April 20) or allegations (by the woman)… We are constituted for a specific purpose. We are looking into only his (Bains) affidavit… So don’t back us into that corner.”
The court has been in the spotlight after the woman’s affidavit, narrating a train of events leading to her dismissal and alleged victimisation, was sent to 22 Supreme Court judges and published by several news websites on April 20.