Senior lawyers cry foul over Supreme Court notice

New Delhi: Senior lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover on Wednesday cried foul over a Supreme Court notice to them and their NGO, Lawyers Collective, on a plea alleging FCRA violation by them, and said they are “deeply disturbed by the turn of events”. They said they are being “victimised” as Jaising took up the cause of a sacked woman employee of the apex court who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, which were rejected by an in-house inquiry committee on May 6. The notice was issued to them on a plea seeking investigation and lodging of FIR under various provisions of law for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilisation of foreign funds.

Jaising and Grover, founders of Lawyers Collective, have been accordingly asked by a bench headed by the CJI to respond to the plea by an NGO, Lawyers Voice.  “It is obvious to us that this is victimisation on account of Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice by a former employee of the Supreme Court. However, Jaising has done so in her capacity as a concerned citizen, a senior member of the bar and a women’s rights advocate, without commenting on the merits of the allegations,” Lawyers Collective said in a press statement.

They said that since Jaising, a former Additional Solicitor General, has been “publicly vocal” on the due process with regard to the conduct of the in-house inquiry committee headed by Justice S A Bobde, the CJI should have recused himself from hearing the matter. The statement said that Lawyers Collective has no foreign funding since 2016 when its FCRA registration was suspended and, later, cancelled by the Union Home Ministry. “We will respond to the petition alleging FCRA violation. We are seeking competent legal advice and our future course of action will be decided in due course,” it said.

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