Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday once again absolved the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of the charge of sexual harassment of a staff member posted at his residence.

A Bench of Justices S K Kaul, A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian accepted the report of a committee headed by former Apex Court judge A K Patnaik holding that a conspiracy cannot be ruled out in the sexual harassment charges levelled against Justice Gogoi in April 2019.

The Patnaik committee report said it could be because of the tough stand taken by the then CJI on judicial and administrative matters.

In its order, the court said Justice Patnaik acknowledged a wider conspiracy behind the sexual harassment charges levelled against retired CJI Gogoi.

Justice Patnaik said he did not have the mandate to probe the conspiracy as already a 3-judge committee headed by Justice Sharad A Bobde had given a clean chit to Justice Gogoi.

The court noted that an Intelligence Bureau report submitted to the Justice Patnaik committee had stated that some people were unhappy with Gogoi because of his tough stand on finalisation of NRC-Assam and this could have been part of the plot to defame him.

The Justice Patnaik committee is also reported to have said that Gogoi's tough decisions to streamline the top court's registry could also have led to the hatching of the conspiracy.

"Two years have passed and the possibility of recovery of electronic evidence is unlikely. The three-member committee headed by CJI SA Bobde has already submitted a report. Suo motu, the case is closed and proceedings are disposed of. There is no requirement to keep the case going on”, the court said in its order closing the case.

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