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The Supreme Court today issued notice to advocate Utsav Bains in the suo motu case initiated following allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
The newly constituted Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta issued notice to Bains, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that there is a conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi. The matter will be heard tomorrow.
As per today’s order, Bains has been directed to produce material in support of the averments made by him in paragraphs 17 and 20 of his affidavit.
In para 17 of his affidavit, Bains has claimed:
“That on 19th April, 2019, a very reliable person, strictly on the condition of anonymity and in good faith, informed the Deponent about a corporate figure who tried to approach a Hon’ble Supreme Court judge to get a favourable order in a high-profile case listed before this Hon’ble Court but was unsuccessful and then the said corporate figure attempted to get the case transferred from the court of that Hon’ble Supreme Court judge but did not succeed and thus ganged up with an alleged fixer by the name of Romesh Sharma and his aides to frame the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India in a false case of sexual harassment to pressurize him to resign.”
Para 20 states,
“That it is pertinent to mention here that the Deponent is privy to certain events involving the said corporate figure and will submit in a sealed cover the events and list of the involved persons to this Hon’ble Court should it so direct him.”
The matter will be heard at 10.30 am tomorrow.
Bains has claimed that he was initially approached by one Ajay to represent the Supreme Court staffer who made the sexual harassment allegations, pro bono. When Bains refused, he was offered a bribe of Rs. 50 lakh and then Rs.1.5 crore to appear for the complainant. The affidavit goes on to state,
“That, the Deponent was informed by reliable sources that certain ‘Fixers’, who claim to be engaged in illegally managing Judgements in exchange for cash are behind this plot as the Hon’ble CJI has taken decisive action to crack down on such fixers.”
Bains also makes references to Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, and apprehends a threat to his life for filing the affidavit.
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, when the order passed by the Bench on that day was uploaded on the Supreme Court website, the name of CJI Ranjan Gogoi did not reflect in the order.
Now, a new Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta is hearing the matter.
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.”