Suo Moto Case On Sexual Harassment Allegations Against CJI Listed Before 3 Judges Bench Today
The suo moto proceedings initiated by the Supreme Court in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is listed before a three judges bench of Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta today at 10.30 AM.
The causelist indicates that the Court will also take up the affidavit filed by Advocate Utsav Singh Bains, who has claimed that he was approached by fixers to frame allegations against CJI.
On April 20, a special sitting of a bench of CJI Gogoi, Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna was held, which was stated to be on the basis of a suo moto case registered on a mention by Solicitor General Thushar Mehta to deal with a "a matter of 'great public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary'.
During the session, the CJI mentioned that four online news portals had published reports of a sexual harassment charge against him brought by a former SC staff. The CJI dismissed the allegations as a "plot to deactivate the office of CJI". The Attorney General, Solicitor General and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association concurred with the CJI and termed the allegations as an attack on judicial independence.
After the session, the bench passed an order, signed by only Justices Mishra and Khanna, stating : "Having considered the matter, we refrain from passing any judicial order at this moment leaving it to the wisdom of the media to show restraint, act responsibly as is expected from them and accordingly decide what should or should not be published as wild and scandalous allegations undermine and irreparably damage reputation and negate independence of judiciary. We would therefore at this juncture leave it to the media to take off such material which is undesirable."
The court also said that an 'appropriate Bench' will hear this issue.
The above procedure has attracted severe criticism from several quarters on the ground that CJI should not have given the impression of acting as a judge in his own cause. The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association have passed resolutions condemning the procedure as improper and violative of principles of natural justice, and called for a full court probe into the matter.