NEW DELHI ;
THE Supreme Court on Thursday said that the possibility of a conspiracy against former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi cannot be ruled out, as it closed an inquiry set up after sexual harassment charges were levelled against him in April 2019. A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that the Intelligence Bureau Director had said, in a report, that then Chief Justice Gogoi had taken serious view in connection with the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens, and there were strong reasons to believe some people were unhappy with this decision.
Against the backdrop of Justice Gogoi’s view on the NRC and his attempts to streamline the top court registry, the bench noted that there exists a reason to believe these decisions may have led to a conspiracy being hatched against him. Justice Gogoi is currently a nominated member of the RS. The top court had asked its former judge, Justice A K Patnaik, to look into the allegations made by lawyer Utsav Bains that there was a larger conspiracy against Gogoi due to decisions taken by him. Allegations were made that middlemen and fixers working with disgruntled court officials were working against the judges. The bench noted that the Justice Patnaik report indicates that existence of a conspiracy against CJ Gogoi cannot be ruled out.
The bench also added that two years have passed, and it is unlikely that there is any possibility that electronic evidence can be recovered. Closing the case, the bench emphasised that it is of the view that no true purpose would be served to continue with the case. “Pleadings are closed and suo motu disposed of. The report be put in sealed cover,” it said. The top court stressed that the committee was only set up probe a larger conspiracy to frame judges. Justice Kaul observed that the three-member committee headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde has already gone into the merits of the harassment allegations and submitted a report in the matter. According to the report, due to limited access to records and material, it was also not possible to find corroboration for the allegations.
The bench noted that the report opines that it cannot really enter into whether the decisions of the Chief Justice on the judicial side led to this conspiracy. Bains, meanwhile, said: “It’s a vindication of my stand that there was a conspiracy against former CJI Gogoi. I welcome the honourable Supreme Court observation vindicating my stand that there was a conspiracy against him.” The observations from the top court came during the hearing on the suo moto case looking into a larger conspiracy against Justice Gogoi after harassment charges were levelled against him.