"Allegations Against CJI Have To Be Inquired In To, To Preserve The Sanctity Of The Institution": Justice AK Patnaik

"Allegations Against CJI Have To Be Inquired In To, To Preserve The Sanctity Of The Institution": Justice AK Patnaik

Former Supreme Court judge A K Patnaik Thursday said allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi "have to be inquired into" to "preserve the sanctity" of the institution in the interest of the country and the Constitution.

Justice Patnaik, who was Thursday appointed by the apex court to hold an inquiry into the sensational allegations of a lawyer about "larger conspiracy" to frame the CJI and fixing of benches in the top court, said he will apply his mind on the controversy after getting all the relevant documents and materials.

He said that on such serious issues "lot of application of mind is required".

"I have not seen the order as yet. The order is coming. I am told that such an appointment has been made. So, after I receive the order, I can find out. Whatever assignments Supreme Court gives, I try to comply. That's all," Justice Patnaik told PTI.

He said he read in newspapers about the controversy regarding the allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI and the sensational claims made by advocate Utsav Singh Bains that a larger conspiracy was at work in the apex court.

The retired judge said he "does not respond fast" and can only make detailed comments after going through the order of the bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and after studying the relevant papers.

"Let me get the order and study it and the papers then I will think over. I don't respond so fast. I will study the orders and papers and try to find how to approach it, what is the proper way to approach it. Procedures have to be followed. What lies after investigation have to be done. All those things require lot of application of mind," Justice Patnaik said.

When asked about allegations of sexual harassment against the CJI and the claim by the lawyer tarnishing the image of the judiciary and particularly the Supreme Court, he said: "The institution has to be preserved in the interest of the country and the Constitution.

"Sanctity has to be preserved, no doubt about it. If the allegations are made against a judge, they have to be inquired into," Justice Patnaik said.

While appointing Justice Patnaik to hold an inquiry into the allegations of Bains, the apex court made it clear that the probe by him shall not be with respect to the "alleged misbehaviour" involving the CJI.

The bench said that outcome of inquiry by Justice Patnaik "shall not affect the in-house procedure/inquiry which is pending in the administrative side".

An in-house inquiry committee, headed by senior most judge Justice S A Bobde, has been constituted to deal with the complaint against the CJI in which Justice N V Ramana recused himself.

In his place, Justice Bobde inducted Justice Indu Malhotra and with her induction, there are two women member in the panel, Justice Indira Banerjee being the other member.

Justice Patnaik was recently appointed by the apex court to supervise CVC inquiry into the CBI vs CBI case in which allegations of corruption was levelled against the then CBI chief Alok Kumar Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana, who was then the special director at the agency.