The Supreme Court on Thursday, February 18, closed its two-year-old suo-motu case registered in 2019, to examine alleged conspiracy against the judiciary owing to the sexual harassment allegations that were levelled against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
The report titled 'In Re: Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary' was closed by a Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, on the ground that recovery of electronic evidence about the case was unlikely.
"Two years have passed, and the possibility of recovery of electronic evidence now is unlikely. A three-member committee headed by the CJI SA Bobde has already submitted a report. The Suo motu case is closed, and proceedings are disposed off. There is no requirement to keep the case going on," Bar and Bench quoted the Court's order.
The bench said AK Patnaik, who submitted the report, could not get electronic records to probe into the conspiracy, and therefore, there was no purpose to be served by continuing the case.
The bench further adverted to a letter by the Director of Intelligence Bureau that some conspiracy might have been hatched against Gogoi, due to the tough decisions he had made, such as preparation of NRC in Assam.
Quoting Patnaik's report, the Court said the authenticity of the allegations raised by lawyer Utsav Singh Bains could not be verified due to the limited access to records.
The Court closed the two-year-old case, considering that the internal committee had already given a clean chit to Gogoi and the recovery of the evidence regarding the alleged conspiracy was 'highly unlikely'.
In April 2019, a woman had accused CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexually harassing her at his residence office, while she working as a Junior Court Assistant in October 2018. She had submitted a document substantiating her claims and sent a complaint to 22 judges of the apex court and called for an inquiry.
The woman said Gogoi did not just harass her but was also responsible for her family's victimisation. The woman had claimed she was transferred and then terminated from service after she alleged Gogoi of harassment. She had further alleged that she was transferred thrice within weeks, and was falsely accused in a bribery case.
The day allegations were published, the Court registered the suo motu case, which was addressed the same day in open Court.
Gogoi had denied the allegations during a special hearing he called the same month. He said that he did not deem it appropriate to reply to the allegations but claimed they were part of a bigger plot, possibly 'deactivate the office of the CJI'.
Later, the matter was sent to another 3-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, to examine the alleged conspiracy against Gogoi, following which advocate Utsav Bains had submitted affidavits to the Court, containing sensitive information about the conspiracy.