SC Building

CJI Faces Sexual Harassment Accusations

The Special Bench of the Supreme Court on Saturday met for a special sitting to discuss online media reports of sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, saying that independence of judiciary is under “very serious threat” and there is a “larger conspiracy” to destabilise the judiciary.

“The independence of the judiciary is under very serious threat and there is a larger conspiracy to destabilise the judiciary,” the Bench said.

A Bench consisting Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna did not pass any judicial order and left it to the wisdom of the media to decide on the publication of reports in order to protect the independence of the judiciary.

“Having considered the matter, we refrain from passing any judicial order at this moment leaving it to the wisdom of the media to show restraint, act responsibly as is expected from them and accordingly decide what should or should not be published as wild and scandalous allegations undermine and irreparably damage reputation and negate independence of judiciary. We would therefore at this juncture leave it to the media to take off such material which is undesirable,” the Bench said.

Chief Justice clarified that charges against him will be examined by other senior judges and not by himself.

Justice Mishra urged the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly so that the independence of the judiciary is not affected by such “wild and baseless allegations”

“We are not passing any judicial order at this moment. We, however, ask media to show restraint, responsibility, and wisdom so that independence of the judiciary is not affected by such wild and baseless allegations”, Justice Mishra said.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice said that it was an attempt to deactivate the office of the Chief Justice of India.

“This is unbelievable. I will not stoop so low even in denying it”, Justice Gogoi said while making it clear that he will continue in his office till the end of his tenure.

Chief Justice added, “What I want to tell the citizens of this country is that the judiciary is under very very serious threat. I will sit on this Bench and discharge my duties without fear or favour.”

Gogoi further said why does a person want to become a judge, reputation is all that matters. “Why would any sane person want to become a judge? Reputation is all that we have. That is also under attack,” he said.

“There is some bigger force behind the woman who made sexual harassment charges. I am very hurt with the allegations levelled against me. I have communicated with four media houses, which have published stories against me,” he added.

Speaking on his savings, the CJI said, “A bank balance of Rs. 6,80,000 is all I have. After 20 years and Rs. 6,80,000 as bank balance this is the reward a Chief Justice of India gets.”

Justice Gogoi said that the complainant, who levelled allegations of sexual harassment, has a criminal background and two FIRs are registered against her. “If she has criminal cases against her then how did she enter the supreme court service?” he asked.

He also mentioned that he asked for a special sitting as “things have gone too far. The judiciary cannot be targeted”.

Justice Gogoi also said that employees in the Supreme Court are treated fairly and equally and these allegations surfaced, “I didn’t think it was appropriate to respond to them”.

The apex court has termed the meeting as “a matter of great public importance”. It said that it’s in the “chief justice’s court to deal with a matter of great public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary, on a mention being made by Tushar Mehta.”

Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta both were present during the hearing.

(ANI)

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#Rafale: SC clears govt process, bins pleas

CJI Ranjan Gogoi says ‘there is no reason for interference in the choice of offset partner and perception of individuals can’t be the basis for roving inquiry in sensitive issue of defence procurement’. #RafaleDeal

— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2018 The court said nobody questioned the procurement of Rafale jets when deal was finalised in September 2016. It added that questions were raised on the jet deal only after former French president Francois Hollande came out with the statement. This cannot be the basis of judicial review, it said. The court said it cannot compel the government to procure 126 or 36 fighter jets. That depends on its decision. The verdict was pronounced on a batch of pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into deal. The apex court reserved its verdict on the batch of pleas on November 14. Advocate ML Sharma was the first petitioner in the case. Later, another lawyer Vineet Dhanda had moved the apex court with the plea for court-monitored probe into the deal. AAP leader Sanjay Singh has also filed a petition against the fighter jet deal. After the three petitions were filed, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with activist advocate Prashant Bhushan moved the apex court with a plea for a direction to the CBI to register FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal. (PTI)]]>

Rahul leads march to CBI HQ, courts arrest

WATCH | “Prime Minister acted against CBI Director as a result of panic, fear,” says Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Track updates here: https://t.co/3qibwoaQLI #CBIDirector #AlokVerma pic.twitter.com/tT8DcEVwVt — NDTV (@ndtv) October 26, 2018 There were no immediate reactions from the Prime Minister’s Office on Gandhi’s allegations. While Ambani has been consistently denying the allegations, the BJP has accused Gandhi of manufacturing lies everyday on the Rafale deal. “The truth will come out,” Gandhi said, adding that removing the CBI director will not impact the truth. Addressing the gathering of Congress protesters earlier in the day, Gandhi accused Modi of destroying institutions such as the CBI, the Election Commission and the Enforcement Directorate. Senior Congress leaders, including Gehlot, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Veerappa Moily and Anand Sharma, took part in the march that culminated in a demonstration ahead of the CBI headquarters. Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leader D Raja and TMC’s Nadimul Haque joined the protest. Carrying placards against the prime minister, the protesters walked the distance with scores of police personnel maintaining vigil and camera crews jostling with each other to capture the moment. One protester carried a placard depicting the CBI in a cage. Gandhi got on to a truck in front of the police barricades put up ahead of the CBI headquarters in the CGO complex to prevent the marchers from reaching the building. Gehlot said the decision to remove the CBI director was “illegal”. “The Chief Justice of India, the Leader of the Opposition and the prime minister can together take a decision to remove him, but not the prime minister alone,” he told reporters. “Our demand is to reinstate the CBI director… The prime minister should tender an apology to the nation for destroying the image of the premier investigating agency,” Gehlot added. The government has strongly defended its decision, saying it was “absolutely essential” to maintain the CBI’s institutional integrity and the move was based on recommendations by the Central Vigilance Commission. The Congress’ protests in the national capital were replicated in other parts of the country. State Congress leaders led demonstrations in their regions against what the Congress described as the “illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI Director by the Modi-Shah duo that has shamed India and its premier investigative agency”. In Patna, for instance, Congress workers, including scores of women, sat on a dharna outside the gate of the CBI office at Bailey Road, carrying placards, reading ‘Save CBI Save Democracy’. Alleging that the prime minister is experiencing ‘Rafale-o-Phobia’, the opposition party said the “demolition of the CBI” was prompted by fears that the director was going to conduct a probe into the fighter jet deal. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dismissed as “rubbish” the allegations by the Opposition that Verma was removed because he was collecting documents on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The government sent Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who have accused each other of corruption, on leave on Tuesday. It also transferred several CBI officials and appointed M Nageswara Rao as the interim chief of the agency. The Congress protest was held soon after the matter came up in the Supreme Court. The apex court said former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik will oversee a CVC inquiry into the allegations and counter allegations and the report has to be placed before it within two weeks. It directed that interim CBI chief M Nageswar Rao shall not take any major policy decisions. Decisions taken by him since October 23 till date shall not be implemented, it said. All decisions taken by Rao shall be placed before the apex court in a sealed cover. The court sought a response from the CBI, the CVC and the Centre on Verma’s plea challenging the government’s decision to divest him of his duties. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi posted the next date of hearing on November 12. (PTI)]]>

Apex Court Has Upheld Constitutional Morality

th Associate Justice in Brett Kavanaugh after a wrenching debate over his alleged sexual misconduct and judicial temperament that shattered the Senate and triggered an acrimonious new level of polarization now encroaching on the court that the 53-year-old judge may well swing rightward for decades to come. No, it is certainly not all hunky-dory with judiciary as a whole in what is called a nation of litigants. There are numerous problems at all levels.  Tussle with the government of the day is a permanent feature. Millions of cases have piled up. The issue of how judges should be selected remains unsettled. Access to legal redresal for the common man and much else need reforming. Although parliament and the executive are the ones to usher in reform, the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court are at the top of the whole process. They most redeem themselves in the eyes of the people. To return to the import of last month’s string of judgments, senior lawyer and former minitower P. Chidambaram says: “Every judgment of the Constitution Benches of the Supreme Court delivered in 2018 has chipped away at tyranny, enlarged the freedom of the people and advanced the cause of Constitutional morality. Project Aadhaar as envisaged by the UPA has been retrieved. The ‘good’ in Aadhaar has been saved. Most of the ‘bad’ in Aadhaar has been identified and consigned to the flames; but there is more. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”   (The writer can be reached at mahendraved07@gmail.com )]]>

Justice Ranjan Gogoi Likely to be Next CJI

reports said on Saturday. Outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra has reportedly recommended Justice Gogoi’s name as his successor to the law ministry. According to the norm, the outgoing CJI recommends the name of the second senior-most judge for the post 30 days before he is to demit office. In January this year, Justice Gogoi was one of the four, along with Justices J Chelameswar (now retired), MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who had called a press conference raising concern over the goings-on at the Supreme Court.]]>