Justice SA Bobde heads panel to hear sexual harassment allegations against CJI
24 April 2019
The Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a three-member committee of judges led by Justice SA Bobde, who is considered as the next Chief Justice of the apex court, to look into allegations of sexual harassment raised by a former employee against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
The other two members of the committee are Justice NV Ramana and Justice Indira Banerjee. Justice Ramana is the number three judge in the apex court.
The Justice Bobde panel of judges will look into the allegations levelled against the CJI by a woman employee of the Supreme Court and published in a website on 20 April.
After intense discussions on how to deal with the crisis, Justice Bobde on Tuesday announced the constitution of a special bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta to deal with the suo motu petition titled ‘In a matter of great public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary’.
The committee will engage itself in tackling the “wildfire” of accusations levelled against the highest court and preventing such instances in the future, reports citing sources at the apex court said.
The panel will also look into ways of streamlining the judiciary and the court In the long run, the source said, adding that a full court will evolve a mechanism to safeguard judges from external attacks as well as look into the veracity of complaints and allegations against judges.
Meanwhile, the special bench led by Justice Mishra will examine an affidavit filed a Supreme Court advocate, Utsav Singh Bains, with information that the allegations are part of a larger conspiracy to frame the CJI in a false case.
Bains, in his affidavit filed on 22 April, said he was approached by a man who identified himself to be a relative of the former apex court employee. This man, Bains, said, had offered him up to Rs1.5 crore to file the false case. The person, however, turned evasive when asked about his relationship with the woman. The lawyer said he had reliable information that a larger plot was up against the CJI in which “fixers” involved in a “cash-for-judgment racket” were involved.
The affidavit filed by Bains is now part of the suo motu case opened by the Supreme Court into the sexual harassment allegations.
Bains who was not present in the court room when the case was called, has been issued notice for his personal appearance today at 10.30 am.