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Chiefs of CBI, IB summoned to Supreme Court in harassment case against CJI

The Supreme Court has summoned CBI, intelligence chiefs to chambers after a lawyer outlined what he said, was conspiracy to frame CJI in harassment case.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2019 15:40 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CJI,CJI sexual harassment,Ranjan Gogoi
Lawyer Utsav Bains has told the Supreme Court that there was a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. (Sonu Mehta/HT File PHOTO)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday has summoned chiefs of the CBI, Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police to its chambers after a lawyer filed an affidavit claiming there was a conspiracy behind framing Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case.

The officials met the judges past noon. The court shall resume the hearing at 3 pm.

For now, the judges have made it clear that they weren’t ordering any of the three agencies to probe the conspiracy alleged by lawyer Utsav Bains.

The lawyer had filed an affidavit alleging that a sexual harassment charge leveled by a former Supreme Court staffer is motivated. There is a “conspiracy against the Chief Justice to force him to resign and threaten every judge of the Supreme Court”, Utsav Bains told the court in an affidavit.

The conspiracy claim has worried the judiciary.

“It is a very serious issue pertaining to the judiciary… If this is true, it is very disturbing,” Justice Arun Mishra said after going through the affidavit. Justice Mishra leads the three-judge bench that also comprises justices Rohintan Fali Nariman and Deepak Gupta.

According to the affidavit, the complaint was also linked to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s decision to sack two court clerks who were alleged to have tampered with the court order that was finally uploaded to the top court’s website.

Also Read: CJI Ranjan Gogoi rejects sexual misconduct charges, says ‘judiciary under threat’

Justice Mishra said this wasn’t the first time that something like this had happened at the top court or the high courts. “But no Chief Justice had the courage to take action,” he said.

“Administration of justice is sought to be compromised by outside forces,” the court observed before ordering the head of the three key investigating agencies to the judge’s chambers.

On Saturday, the Chief Justice termed the allegations an attempt to deactivate the office of the CJI but did not eventually sign the order, saying he wanted to recuse himself. The order bore the signature of the other two judges.

Also Read: Sexual harassment cases relating to Supreme Court judges in legal grey area

The Supreme Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, representing lawyers practising in the Supreme Court of India, have been critical of the Chief Justice’s handling of the case against him.

On Monday, they sought appointment of a committee by Supreme Court judges to inquire into the sexual harassment allegations against the CJI. A committee headed by Justice SA Bobde was set up yesterday to look into the allegations. It will hold its first meeting on Friday.

The woman complainant is a former junior court officer who was employed at the residential office of the Chief Justice. She had written a detail affidavit to all the judges of the Supreme Court entailing besides the sexual harassment, the incidents of harassment and victimisation meted out to her family. She has alleged that she had been dismissed from the office arbitrarily.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 12:03 IST