Can’t Rule Out Conspiracy Against Ex Chief Justice Gogoi: Supreme Court (18-02-2021)

New Delhi: The possibility of a conspiracy against former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi cannot be ruled out, the Supreme Court said today, closing an inquiry set up after he was accused of sex harassment.

The Supreme Court said such a conspiracy could be linked to Justice Gogoi's decisions, including his views on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and his attempts to streamline the Supreme Court registry.

The top court's decision was based on the report of former Justice AK Patnaik, who had been tasked with investigating a larger conspiracy in the allegations against Justice Gogoi and “whether middlemen and fixers working with disgruntled court officials were trying to fix judges”. The inquiry was ordered after lawyer Utsav Bains raised the possibility of a conspiracy in the allegations that surfaced in 2019.

“The Justice Patnaik report acknowledges the existence of a conspiracy against the ex Chief Justice and it cannot be ruled out,” the Supreme Court said, adding that the panel was unable to obtain electronic records.

“Certain tough administrative decisions were taken to streamline the process in the registry,” it said.

The court said the Intelligence Bureau director had said in a report that Justice Gogoi had taken a serious view in cases related to National Register of Citizens and there were “strong reasons to believe some are unhappy with the decision”.

Closing the case, the court said: “We are of the view no true purpose would be served. Pleadings are closed and suo motu disposed of. The report be put in sealed cover.”

The judges made it clear that the committee was not set up to inquire into the allegations against the Chief Justice but to investigate a larger conspiracy to frame judges.

Because of limited access to records and based on evidence and material, it was also not possible to find corroboration for the allegations, the report noted.

“However, in view of the mandate of the order dated 2019 of the Supreme Court, the report opines that it cannot really enter into whether the decisions of the Chief Justice on the judicial side triggered off the conspiracy against him,” the court said.

Utsav Bains, reacting to the order, said it was a vindication of his belief that there was a conspiracy against former Chief Justice Gogoi.

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18 Feb 2021