By Ranjit Kumar Sinha:
CHIEF Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday got a clean chit from the Supreme Court’s In-House Inquiry Committee which “has found no substance” in the allegations of harassment levelled against him by a former woman employee of the apex court. A notice by the office of Supreme Court Secretary General said the report of the Committee, headed by Justice S A Bobde, “is not liable to be made public”.
The committee, also comprising two woman judges of the apex court -- Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee -- gave the report ex-parte as the woman had opted out of the inquiry on April 30 after participating for three days. She issued a press statement in which she described as “very frightening” the atmosphere of the Committee and walked out raising various objections including denial of her lawyer’s presence. Justice Gogoi appeared on May 1 before the Committee and recorded his statements. The notice said: “The In-House Committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19, 2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and others, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public.”
It further said: “The In House Committee has submitted its report dated May 5, 2019 in accordance with the In House Procedure, to the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely, the CJI.” An official source said that though Justice N V Ramana was the judge next in seniority after Justice Bobde, the report was not submitted to him as he was originally the member of the panel but had to recuse himself after the woman had expressed some reservations over his presence in the panel.
The source said Justice Arun Mishra, who is number four in seniority, is competent to receive the report. Woman says she felt ‘highly disappointed’: The former woman Supreme Court staffer said that she was “highly disappointed and dejected” that the in-house committee has given a clean chit to the CJI and said she was on the verge of losing faith in the idea of justice. She said she would consult a lawyer and decide on the next step. “Today, I am at the verge of losing faith in the idea of justice,” the complainant said in a statement reacting to the news of clean chit.
No urgent hearing: SC
THE Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking direction to the CBI to lodge an FIR into the alleged conspiracy to “fix” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi but said there was no urgency and the case would come up for hearing in the “due course”. The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer by advocate M L Sharma, who has claimed in his petition that there was a conspiracy to malign the CJI in a “concocted, false harassment” case. Sharma urged the bench to list his plea for hearing on May 8. “What is the urgency? You have filed it and it will come up for hearing,” the bench said.