Supreme Court closes suo moto case regarding allegations of sexual harassment against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi

On Thursday, the Supreme Court closed a suo moto probe against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Back in 2019, the Apex Court had registered a suo moto case to look into the alleged conspiracy against the judiciary after allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Mr Gogoi became public.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul stated that two years have passed, and it was improbable that there will be the recovery of electronic records. The Bench further observed that a subcommittee has already submitted its record; therefore, the case should be closed, and the proceedings should be disposed of.

The Court stated that Justice A K Patnaik’s inquiry report is on record, and it was very comprehensive, and as the committee was not required to look into the merits of the case, all the relevant details were mentioned in the report. The Court further noted that the Hon’ble Judge only examined points put forth by Mr Bains, and it was impossible to find collaborative evidence through Mr Bain’s affidavit.

According to the Bench, conspiracy’s existence cannot be ruled out as Justice Patnaik did not have access to electronic records. As per Learned Single Judge’s opinion, the conspiracies may have been triggered due to decisions taken in the National Register of Citizens case.

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In April 2019, Supreme Court had formed a committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge AK Patnaik to look into affidavit filed by lawyer Utsav Bains that there was a conspiracy to frame former Justice Gogoi in a sexual harassment case.

The Bench directed Delhi Commissioner, CBI Director and Intelligence Bureau to help Justice Patnaik in the probe.

However, the Bench clarified that the said inquiry was separate from the in house inquiry that looked into CJI’s alleged behaviour.

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