New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday held an extraordinary hearing after a former employee of the apex court accused the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, of sexual harassment on two occasions in October last year and persecution after she resisted his alleged sexual advances.
“`6.8 lakh is all I have as bank balance. They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this. This is the reward a Chief Justice of India gets after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs 6.8 lakh. Independence of judiciary is under very serious threat. I had to tell this from the judicial seat," he said.
"When I had become a judge, I had much more. If judges have to work under these conditions then, I have always said in my public meetings, that good people will not come forward to take up the job. My peon has got more money than me."
During the sitting in which CJI presided over a Bench which also included Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna, he said, “I have taken this unusual and extraordinary step of sitting in court today because things have gone too far”.
"I believe there is a bigger plot behind this to deactivate the office of CJI. No judge is going to decide cases if this is the kind of attack we get. Reputation is only thing we get. Even that is attacked. Why do you think a person decides to become a judge? Reputation is all that matters for a judge. If that is also under attack, what is left?” the CJI asked.
Justice Arun Mishra described the allegation as "wild and baseless".
Chief Justice Gogoi said he would continue to perform his duties without fear or favour till the end of his tenure and would not be cowed down.
At the end of the half-hour hearing, the CJI said he would not pass any judicial order in the matter and left it to Justice Mishra to take the lead and do what was necessary.
A brief order signed by two other judges (without the CJI) said, :Having considered the matter, we refrain from passing any judicial order 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of the media to show restraint, act responsibly as is expected from them and accordingly decide what should or should not be published as wild and scandalous allegations undermine and irreparably damage the reputation and negate independence of judiciary. We would at this juncture leave it to the media to take off such material which is undesirable."
Both Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta were present in the courtroom....