The Supreme Court on Monday said a plea urging it to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to lodge a first information report into an alleged conspiracy to frame Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in a sexual harassment case would be heard in due course, PTI reported.
The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justice SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer. “What is the urgency?” the judges asked petitioner ML Sharma. “You have filed it and it will come up for hearing. It will be listed in due course.”
In his plea, Sharma requested the court to the CBI to file an FIR against lawyers Prashant Bhushan, Kamini Jaiswal, Indira Jaising and others for allegedly conspiring to malign the chief justice, reported Live Law. The petitioner claimed that Gogoi was being framed in a “concocted, false sexual harassment” case, according to PTI.
The petition cited a few media reports to claim that the sexual harassment complaint against Gogoi was drafted by Bhushan and others to frame the chief justice. The plea also named advocates Vrinda Grover, Shanti Bhushan, Nina Gupta Bhasin and Dushyant Dubey.
Sharma initially requested the Supreme Court to list his plea for hearing on May 8 and later told the bench that he was not seeking an urgent hearing. When Sharma said his plea be listed for hearing before the same bench that had dealt with a lawyer’s affidavit claiming a conspiracy to frame Gogoi, Justice Bobde said: “We will see when it will be listed and before whom”.
Advocate Utsav Bains had claimed on April 25 that he was offered money to help frame Gogoi. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta set up an inquiry committee headed by former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik after going through his submissions.
The case and Gogoi’s reaction
The complainant in the sexual harassment case used to work as a junior court assistant at the top court. On April 19, she wrote to 22 Supreme Court judges, alleging that Gogoi had made sexual advances on her at his residence office on October 10 and 11.
In the affidavit, the woman said that after she rebuffed the chief justice, she was moved out of his residence office, where she had been posted in August. Two months later, on December 21, she was dismissed from service. One of the three grounds for dismissal, as detailed in an inquiry report, was that she had taken casual leave for one day without approval. She has alleged that her family was persecuted after the incident.
Gogoi denied the allegations during a special hearing of the top court on April 20. The chief justice said he did not “deem it appropriate” to reply to the allegations and claimed that they were part of a “bigger plot”, possibly one to “deactivate the office of the CJI”.