- Affidavit claims conspiracy in sex harassment allegations against the CJI
- Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has denied sex harassment allegations
- Supreme Court called an emergency hearing on Saturday
A lawyer's affidavit claiming that the allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi are a conspiracy to frame him will be taken up by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Chief Justice Gogoi has strongly denied the allegations of a former Supreme Court employee and said the independence of the judiciary is "under threat" and it "cannot be made a scapegoat".
The top court, in a hearing today, served notice to the lawyer Utsav Bains and asked him to explain his affidavit tomorrow and clarify his claim that he knew the chain of events and would submit names of those involved in a sealed cover.
A special bench called an emergency hearing on Saturday after the former employee, in an affidavit to several Supreme Court judges, alleged she was sexually harassed by the chief justice."This is unbelievable. I don't think I should stoop low even to deny these allegations," the Chief Justice said in the hearing and added he would not pass any orders, that the senior most judge Arun Mishra would dictate the order.
Today, Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta heard Utsav Bains's affidavit claiming there was a conspiracy to frame the Chief Justice in a "false case of sexual harassment" that would force him to resign. Utsav Bains claims he was offered Rs. 1.5 crore to represent the woman and arrange a presser against Chief Justice Gogoi.
All 26 judges of the top court have rallied behind the Chief Justice, sources say.
In the special hearing, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi alleged a conspiracy against him and said, "There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice".
The Chief Justice said the allegations had surfaced because he was to hear important cases in the Supreme Court in the coming days. "I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear... Things have gone too far," he said.
He also said the woman who made the allegations against him has a criminal background and faces two police cases.
The special bench did not pass any judicial order "at this stage" and said they "leave it to the discretion of the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly."
"Faith of people in judiciary will be shaken by such unscrupulous allegations," Justice Mishra said.
Two associations of the top court - the Supreme Court Bar association and the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association - said Saturday's hearing on the allegations of sexual harassment violated the "procedure and principles of natural justice". The associations said a full court should decide on a further course of action.
The Supreme Court Employees' Welfare Association, a union of the top court staff, has condemned the allegations in a resolution and said these are aimed at maligning the institution.