Supreme Court: A special 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta, JJ has appointed former Supreme Court judge, Justice A. K. Patnaik, to hold an inquiry into the allegations made in the affidavits.to probe an advocate’s claim that there was a “conspiracy” to frame Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case.
The bench, however, clarified that the outcome of the inquiry shall not affect the in-house procedure/inquiry which is pending in the administrative side in any manner whatsoever. It said,
“this inquiry shall not be with respect to the alleged misbehaviour involving Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India. This is with respect to the contents of the affidavits, whether the affidavits are correct or not.”
The Court also asked the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to cooperate with the Hon’ble Judge as and when their services are required at any point of time for the purpose of investigation of the matter.
Asking Justice Patnaik to submit a report to this Court on the basis of the inquiry as to the allegations mentioned in the affidavits, the bench said that it will next take up the matter after the report is submitted.
On 24.04.2019, Advocate Bains had submitted an affidavit in Court in a sealed cover. The bench had directed that,
“It is to be kept in a sealed cover in total confidentiality, as it contains highly sensitive information pertaining to the alleged conspiracy, according to him, to frame Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India into a case of sexual harassment.”
Naming Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma and others in his affidavit, Advocate Bains had mentioned that,
“the disgruntled employees have ganged together in order to frame Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India in the false charge of sexual harassment after their dismissal from their services.”
He has also alleged that they have asserted that they could fix the Bench of the Judges.
The Court had, on 24.04.2019, said,
“Considering the seriousness of the allegations as the system has absolutely no place for such fixers, we cannot leave the matter at that. It becomes our responsibility to keep this Institution clean as well as to ensure that the image of this Institution is not tarnished by such allegations to undertake the probe in the matter.”
[In Re : Matter of great public importance touching upon the Independence of Judiciary, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 604, order dated 25.04.2019]