April 25, 2019
NEW DELHI: Three Supreme Court judges today examined an affidavit by lawyer Utsav Bains claiming a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi with sex harassment allegations. The allegations of “bench fixing are so serious that it requires investigation”, said the judges, who are expected to order an independent inquiry this afternoon.
“The day has come when we have to rise and tell the powerful and rich people – you can’t run the institution,” said the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta. “Whenever big persons are involved these things are happening.”
The court made it clear that the inquiry would not affect the in-house probe into the allegations against the Chief Justice.
Utsav Bains, in his affidavit, said he was offered Rs. 1.5 crore by one Ajay to represent a former employee of the Supreme Court and arrange a press conference against Chief Justice Gogoi at the Press Club.
The Chief Justice has strongly denied the allegations, asserting that the independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it was being made a “scapegoat”.
The court said it wanted to know who approached Utsav Bains and expressed concern about the “fixing game”.
“Rich and powerful of this country are playing with fire and this must stop. People try to run by money power. When someone tries to improve malign them, kill them. This can’t go on,” it said.
“The fixing thing is serious. Don’t think the Supreme Court can be run by a fixer or money power. The way this institution has been treated for the last three years, it would die.”
Yesterday too, the judges used strong words while considering the case. “We have to find out the truth. Is there any fixing going on here? The entire country will lose faith if we shut our eyes… In case this affidavit is false, we will not tolerate it,” they had said.
The unprecedented allegations against a top judge of the country have added to a series of setbacks the judiciary has been facing over the last year – starting with a press conference in January 2018 by four of the senior-most judges who spoke against the Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Later, an attempt was made by the opposition parties to impeach Justice Dipak Misra.
On Tuesday, the full court, after a meeting, set up a three-judge bench to look into the allegations against Justice Gogoi.
The judges met the CBI chief, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and the chief of Delhi Police and asked them to look into the documents submitted by Utsav Bains in a sealed cover.