The panel held its first proceeding on Friday last.
The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking to restrain the media from publishing the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi by a former Supreme Court employee.
A bench led by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon rejected NGO Anti Corruption Council of India’s plea, saying that since the Supreme Court is seized of the matter and various orders have been passed, including directing initiation of certain inquiry, interference in the matter by this court is not called for.
“We have considered the contentions advanced and we are of the considered view that when the issue is pending consideration before the Supreme Court in the suo motu writ petition…and the Supreme Court has already expressed itself… judicial propriety and discipline require that this court should not interfere in the matter at all, when the matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court… we see no reason to make any indulgence in the matter and, accordingly, we refrain from exercising jurisdiction,” the Bench said.
Suspecting involvement of “anti-national elements”, the NGO in its plea had stated that the publication of such charges against the CJI directly hit the Indian judicial system and sought immediate restriction on the media from further telecasting or publishing the allegations till conclusion of the three-judge panel’s inquiry. It also wanted restrictions on the social media platforms. “People will lose faith in the Indian judicial system”, and the “vast damage” caused to the nation and its people would be “irreparable”, the petition stated.
An in-house committee led by Justice SA Bobde and also comprising justices Indira Bannerjee and Indu Malhotra are probing the allegations levelled by the former woman employee of the Supreme Court. The panel held its first proceeding on Friday last.
The SC last week appointed its former judge Justice AK Patnaik to probe allegations of larger conspiracy to frame Gogoi and fixing of benches in the top court, as alleged by lawyer Utsav Bains. The apex court had also requested the directors of the CBI and the IB and the Delhi police commissioner to cooperate with Justice Patnaik during the inquiry. In a stern warning to those trying to “influence” the top court, the SC had said “we have to tell the rich and powerful of the country to desist from trying to control the SC”. “We will tell them don’t dare attempt it. You will burn your fingers,” the bench led by Justice Arun Mishra said, adding, “it is 3-5% of lawyers who try to influence the registry whenever there is big case and bring a bad name to the lawyer community as well as judiciary”.