'Rich and powerful cannot run judiciary': Supreme Court on conspiracy claims against CJI Ranjan Gogoi
The apex court will pass orders at 2 PM on the future course of action on a lawyer's claim of conspiracy against the CJI, who is facing sexual harassment allegations by an ex SC staffer.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said some rich and powerful people want to control its functioning, as it heard for the third time the matter related to allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The court said these "fixers" must go.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said: "People with money power are trying to run the registry of the top court...this is a really serious matter...people can be killed or maligned if the truth is brought forth..."
A report by NDTV said that advocate Utsav Bains had filed an affidavit stating he was offered Rs.1.5 crore to represent a former employee of the Supreme Court and arrange a press conference against the Chief Justice at the Press Club. The court reportedly wants to know who approached Utsav Bains
Justice Mishra added after learning about the alleged network that is trying to manipulate the Supreme Court, "we are in anguish". He said that the bench has come to know these fixers are usually represented by senior advocates in the Supreme Court.
"We want to tell the rich and powerful of this country that they cannot run the Supreme Court," said an agitated Justice Mishra.
The observations from the bench came after going through Bains' affidavit.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Indira Jaising protested that the bench is heavily consumed in probing the defence of the Chief Justice who is facing allegations of sexual harassment. She contended that such influence on the investigation would prejudice the complaint by the former top court staffer against the Chief Justice.
The bench assured her that both investigations are independent, and the complainant in the sexual harassment case would be prejudiced.
Jaisingh also asked the court to probe the credentials of Utsav Bains, saying people who come to court, must come with clean hands.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta intervened by recommending the formation of SIT, but Jaisingh protested and requested the court to conduct a judicial inquiry.
As per the Solicitor General's suggestion regarding the formation of an SIT into the matter, the bench said they can look into this aspect of the investigation. The court also clarified that this probe would not prejudice the complaint made by the woman against the Chief Justice.
The bench told Mehta that this is a very serious matter, and "we want to get to the root of this bench fixing issue, and the issue is so serious that we cannot divulge the details."
The bench observed that some fixer who claims to be a relative of the woman, who levelled sexual harassment charges against the Chief Justice, approached Utsav Bains for removal of the Chief Justice. "We don't know the identity of this person....we need to find out the truth," said the bench.
(With inputs from online desk)