25 April 2019 5:46 AM GMT
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Misra, R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta said that they will pass orders at 2 PM today on the inquiry into the bench-fixing allegations raised by Advocate Utsav Bains.Bains had filed an affidavit in the suo moto proceedings initiated by the Court alleging that the sexual harassment allegations against CJI are part of a larger conspiracy by fixers and...
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Misra, R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta said that they will pass orders at 2 PM today on the inquiry into the bench-fixing allegations raised by Advocate Utsav Bains.
Bains had filed an affidavit in the suo moto proceedings initiated by the Court alleging that the sexual harassment allegations against CJI are part of a larger conspiracy by fixers and plotters to frame the CJI.
He had said yesterday that he will file another affidavit today giving details of the involvement of the "disgruntled employees" of SC in the alleged plot against CJI Gogoi.
Today morning, he handed over a sealed envelope to the bench, apparently containing the new affidavit.
The bench then proceeded to hear the Attorney General on the point whether Bains could claim privilege over the communications with alleged conspirators. He had said in his affidavit that said that he cannot share names as they are "privileged communications under Advocates Act".
The Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the claim of privilege under Section 126 Indian Evidence Act is not applicable to communications between Utsav Bains and alleged fixers/conspirators. "According to him, someone came to him with 50 L. He doesn't have a client. So there is no application of Section 126", said Mr. K K Venugopal.
The SCBA president Rakesh Khanna also chipped in, saying that the Court has unbridled powers to call for documents overlooking the claim of privilege.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising intervened in the meanwhile to voice the apprehension that the present proceedings might prejudice the in-house enquiry based on the allegations by the former Junior Court Assistant who has alleged sexual harassment by CJI.
The Court said that the present proceedings were with regard to "wider conspiracy" and will not affect the in-house inquiry.
Jaising also repeated her allegations against the credentials of Bains. She said that his Jaguar car without SC sticker was permitted entry into court premises at the recommendation of someone from the administration.
Justice Arun Mishra at this juncture reiterated that the allegations of bench fixing are serious.
"Every day we hear about bench-fixing, and wrong practices in this court. This cannot go on. Don't provoke us anymore. We want to tell the rich and the powerful that playing with the SC is like playing with fire".
He added that 3-5% of lawyers attempt to manipulate the registry whenever there is big case and bring a bad name to the lawyer community as well as judiciary.
"We want to send a clear message to influential people with money and political power that they cannot interfere in SC proceedings and there cannot be any match fixing in the judicial system", Justice Mishra added.
The bench then said that it will re-assemble at 2 PM to pass formal orders.
The Court had stated in the order passed yesterday as follows :
"He(Bains) has given an affidavit in Court in a sealed cover. The same is taken on record. It is to be kept in a sealed cover in total confidentiality, as it contains highly sensitive information pertaining to the alleged conspiracy, according to him, to frame Hon'ble The Chief Justice of India into a case of sexual harassment. In that connection, he has stated to have met with certain persons at certain places.
"He has further mentioned in the affidavit that the disgruntled employees have ganged together in order to frame Hon'ble The Chief Justice of India in the false charge of sexual harassment after their dismissal from their services. He has named in particular, names of Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma and others".
The Court had also directed the chiefs of CBI, Delhi police and Intelligence Bureau to "seize the relevant material in order to support the contents of the affidavit" furnished by Bains.