Sexual Harassment Allegations against CJI Ranjan Gogoi: Live Updates from Supreme Court

Sexual Harassment Allegations against CJI Ranjan Gogoi: Live Updates from Supreme Court

Bar & Bench

The hearing in the suo motu case initiated following allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (In Re: Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary ) is currently underway at the Supreme Court.

The matter is posted before a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta.

After reports of the allegations first broke last Saturday, a Special Bench was immediately convened to look into the matter of grave public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary.  This Special Bench had comprised CJI Ranjan Gogoi along with Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna, However, the Court order passed that day did not reflect the name of CJI Gogoi.

Subsequently, the present Bench was constituted to take up the matter. Yesterday, the Bench decided to summon Advocate Utsav Bains before the Court, to hear him on certain averments made by him claiming that there is a conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi. Bain has filed an affidavit to this effect before the Supreme Court.

In the meanwhile, reports surfaced yesterday that a Special Panel of Judges has been constituted to look into the sexual harassment allegations against CJI Gogoi. This Panel is headed by Justice SA Bobde, who is in line to become the next Chief Justice of India. The other members are Justices NV Ramana and Indira Banerjee.

Live updates of today’s hearing before Justices Mishra, Nariman and Gupta follow:

  • Advocate Utsav Bains is present in Supreme Court.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has reached the Court.
  • Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman, and Deepak Gupta assembles, hearing commences.
  • What do you want to say, Justice Arun Mishra to Utsav Bains
  • I am submitting materials in a sealed cover to Hon’ble court, Utsav Bains to Supreme Court.
  • Justice Rohinton Nariman and Arun Mishra going through the new material submitted by Utsav Bains
  • Can you call a responsible investigating officer to our chamber, Justice Arun Mishra
  • Attorney General KK Venugopal now reading out the Facebook post of Utsav Bains.
  • Let me admit in open court that I am disgusted at the way Bar is divided, submits Utsav Bains.
  • I have never seen such kind of cheap tactics. Why should I remain in the profession, says Utsav Bains
  • Let this be investigated thoroughly by an SIT under the supervision of Supreme Court, submits Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
  • I have specific information on how this was planned and I will file one more affidavit, submits Utsav Bains
  • I did not go to the police because police is under the State which is ruled by some political party. So let there be a judicial inquiry, submits Utsav Bains.
  • If this is true, then it is really… One was that episode of Tapan Chakraborty and Manav Sharma. It is the first time CJI is taking such actions. He is taking action after action without fear. (This is what Justice Arun Mishra is talking about – CLICK Here)
  • We should be more concerned about what is there in that affidavit, says Justice Arun Mishra.
  • We are not going to say anything about the contents of this affidavit, Justice Arun Mishra to Indira Jaising who seeks audience.
  • Right now we should be concerned more about this affidavit, Justice Arun Mishra.
  • Also tells Government that adequate security should be given to Utsav bains
  • CBI Director, Commissioner of Police should meet us at 12.30 today, Supreme Court to Attorney General.
  • Give him (Utsav Bains) full protection, Justice Arun Mishra
  • Utsav Bains given liberty to file one more affidavit. Supreme Court Bench to reassemble at 3 pm.

3 pm hearing begins

  • Special Bench sits, hearing resumes.
  • Utsav Bains hands over another sealed cover.
  • Bench going through the sealed cover.
  • Two of the conspirators have met, submits Utsav Bains
  • You said you will file another affidavit? I will file it tomorrow by 10.30 am tomorrow, says Utsav Bains.
  • Senior Advocate Indira Jaising making submissions now

  • I am here in person and not representing anyone. We women lawyers are as much concerned about the judicial independence and integrity of this court, submits Indira Jaising.
  • We are as much concerned about it. Our sole concern is that there is an independent inquiry into the affidavit filed by former female employee, says Indira Jaising.
  • This Bench is constituted for another purpose. We are not hearing anything about Saturday matter, says Justice Rohinton Nariman.
  • Indira Jaising says the Bench was constituted on Saturday after those allegations.
  • I repeat this Bench is hearing only on the affidavit filed by him (Utsav Bains), nothing to do with the other matter, Justice Nariman reiterates firmly.

  • One inquiry should not prejudice the other, submits Indira Jaising.
  • He has said that there are fixers. Who are these fixers we need to find out who are these fixers. We will inquire and inquire and inquire and take it to logical conclusion, Justice Arun Mishra

  • A lawyer is making such allegations, so we have to inquire and find out whether there is truth. Otherwise, the public confidence in the institution will go. If this affidavit is false, then also we will not tolerate this, Justice Arun Mishra.
  • It is not just about CJI; Trying to fix Benches. Disgruntled employees coming together, three employees were dismissed; such an action has never been taken before by any CJI, says Justice Arun Mishra.
  • I really don’t understand how a person can make certain allegations and claim rest is privileged, AG KK Venugopal.
  • Rohinton Nariman J warns Utsav Bains when Bains said that AG is making personal allegations.
  • “You have no reason to have an iota of doubt on him. He is the most respected member of this Bar. We all look up to him. If you have an iota of doubt we will throw you out”, Nariman J.
  • Since Nariman J. said he will throw me out, I will walk out myself, Utsav Bains says.
  • Justice Arun Mishra calls him back. “If anybody attacks me personally, I will respond”, Bains.
  • Nobody is attacking you personally, Mr. Venugopal is the greatest gentleman in this court, we all learn from him, Rohinton Nariman J.
  • Indira Jaising says Utsav Bains came inside Supreme court campus in a car without a sticker. “How can he do that? All our cars have Supreme court entry sticker. He came in a Jaguar car, Let him admit or deny it”, Jaising

  • Your Lordships should not shut out the Bar, Jaising. Have we shut you out, Nariman j. No, Jaising. Court laughs.
  • Can we shut you out, Nariman j. Court laughs again. I am just another member of the Bar, Jaising. You are a formidable member, Nariman J.
  • Court dictating order. As per Bains’ affidavit, three disgruntled employees came together to frame the CJI.

  • Supreme Court gives time to Utsav Bains to file another affidavit. Matter to be listed at 10.30 am tomorrow. Exercise of judicial powers by this Bench will not affect any pending inquiry, Supreme Court makes it clear.

CJI Gogoi has been accused of sexual assault by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the  Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the former Court officer has alleged that following the sexual assault incident, she was unceremoniously terminated from her post. Moreover, she alleges that a trail of harassment has followed since her termination, culminating in a frivolous FIR filed in March this year against herself and her family.

All the allegations have been denied by the Supreme Court Secretary General’s office. The response also asserts that the motive behind the “false and scurrilous allegations” is “obviously mischievous.”

[Read Order]

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