New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday brought the curtains down on its suo motu proceedings to investigate the alleged larger conspiracy behind the allegation of sexual harassment against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Without giving details, it added that the possibility of a larger conspiracy cannot be ruled out.
“Two years have passed and the possibility of recovery of electronic evidence now is unlikely. Three-member committee headed by the CJI S.A. Bobde has already submitted a report. Suo motu case is closed and proceedings are disposed off. There is no requirement to keep the case going on,” the court said in its order closing the case. The order was passed by a bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian.
The court added that the one-man committee headed by former judge Justice A.K. Patnaik has not ruled out the possibility of a conspiracy against former CJI Gogoi.
In 2019, the top court had, in a suo motu matter it said was of “great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary”, initiated proceedings and set-up a one-man committee to inquire into the claims of wider conspiracy behind the allegation of sexual harassment against former CJI Gogoi.
The three-judge bench comprising Justice Arin Mishra (since retired), Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Deepak Gupta (also retired), had referred to a letter by the director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) which said that some conspiracy might have been hatched because of the tough decisions taken by Justice Gogoi, including the preparation of National Citizens Register in Assam and streamlining the court registry.
However, the top court’s order on setting up the Justice A.K. Patnaik Committee had said that it will not inquire into the “alleged misbehaviour” involving former CJI Gogoi.
Referring to Justice Patnaik’s report, the court said on Thursday, “The veracity of the allegations levelled by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains could not be verified completely due to the limited access of records and other collaborative material.”
A three-member committee headed by Justice Sharad A. Bobde (present Chief Justice) and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee that inquired into the allegation of sexual misconduct gave a clean chit to former CJI Gogoi. The report of the committee was never made public.