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Rich and powerful can’t control court, ‘fixers’ must go: SC on allegations against CJI

Advocate Utsav Bains has alleged a conspiracy against the Chief Justice after a former Supreme Court staffer alleged sexual harassment by the CJI.

SNS | 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 CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The allegations of “bench fixing are so serious that it requires investigation”, said the judges, who are expected to order an independent inquiry this afternoon.

“The day has come when we have to rise and tell the powerful and rich people – you can’t run the institution,” the three-judge special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta said.

“Whenever big persons are involved these things are happening,” it added.

“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…” the court further observed.

The court said these “fixers” must go.

Justice Mishra said, after learning about the alleged network that is trying to manipulate the Supreme Court “they were in anguish”.

He also added that the bench has come to know these fixers are usually represented by senior advocates in the Supreme Court.

Advocate Utsav Bains, who has alleged a conspiracy against the Chief Justice after a former Supreme Court staffer alleged sexual harassment, on Thursday, submitted a fresh affidavit in the court.

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 not be prejudiced.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Bains submitted the proof before the court and said, “I have a CCTV footage, which is real evidence. I am submitting this in court. The accused and the mastermind is very powerful”.

Following this, the court said it was concerned about the contents of the affidavit filed by the lawyer and summoned the Directors of CBI and IB and the Delhi Police Commissioner to meet in the chamber.

Following the development, the Supreme Court also asked advocate Bains to corroborate his contentions that three former employees of the apex court came together to frame the CJI with the help of some powerful lobbyists.

Utsav Bains had on Monday filed an affidavit in which he claimed that he was offered Rs 1.5 crore to represent the former apex court woman employee who levelled the allegation against the CJI.

Bains also said that he was asked to arrange a presser against the CJI at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. He said that he had found loopholes in the case.

A Special Bench was immediately convened after the allegations surfaced on Saturday to look into the “matter of grave public importance touching upon the independence of the judiciary”.

In the unprecedented hearing on Saturday, the CJI had said a larger conspiracy was behind it and that he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.

CJI Gogoi has been accused of sexual assault by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018.

(With agency inputs)