Two weeks after Unnao rape survivor’s mother wrote to SC, CJI yet to see letter

Published on Jul 31, 2019 11:59 PM IST

Taking cognizance of media reports that a letter was written to him on July 12, the CJI has asked the secretary general of the Supreme Court to explain the events that led to the letter written by Unnao rape survivor’s mother not being placed before him.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi addresses the audience during the Happiness Education Conference, at Talkatora Stadium, in New Delhi on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. The CJI has asked the secretary general of the Supreme Court to explain the events that led to the letter not being placed before him.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi addresses the audience during the Happiness Education Conference, at Talkatora Stadium, in New Delhi on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. The CJI has asked the secretary general of the Supreme Court to explain the events that led to the letter not being placed before him.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Two weeks after the Unnao rape survivor’s mother wrote to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi seeking registration of an FIR against persons threatening her family members and attempting to influence her daughter to withdraw the case, the CJI has yet to see the letter.

Taking cognizance of media reports that a letter was written to him on July 12, the CJI has asked the secretary general of the Supreme Court to explain the events that led to the letter not being placed before him.

So, what is the general process followed in the top court to deal with letters written to it?

A former secretary general of the Supreme Court registry, who did not wish to be identified, said the apex court received almost 100 letters every day addressed to the CJI or simply the Supreme Court of India. Some were complaints about high court judges and some about top court judges. Some were personal letters, while others dealt with domestic disputes and human rights violations.After registry officials manually sifted through the letters, action was initiated, which could take anything between 20 and 25 days.

According to a registry official, letters addressed to the CJI were received by the receipt branch of the Supreme Court. If the letter was specifically addressed to the CJI, it was forwarded to his office where his personal secretary, an official of additional registrar rank, would look at the contents and place it before the CJI.

However, if the letter was general in nature, it was forwarded to the public interest litigation (PIL) branch where officials scanned the contents to ascertain the nature of the grievance. If the officials felt the letter was in the nature of a PIL, it was referred to the in-charge of the PIL branch for placing before a panel of judges.

This committee of judges took a final view on whether a letter needed to be registered as a PIL. Later, it was presented before the CJI who, on the administrative side, marked the matter for a hearing. If the contents of a letter did not merit a hearing, it was simply consigned to the records. If a letter was marked to a specific judge, it was forwarded to his office.

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