CJI Gogoi sexual harassment case: The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed Justice A K Patnaik (retired) to inquire into allegations raised by advocate Utsav Bains in the case relating to sexual harassment allegations levelled against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi. The apex court ordered that Utsav Bains cannot claim the privilege under Section 126 of the Evidence Act and he is bound to disclose all the documents. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman, and Deepak Gupta pronounced the order today.

The SC move came after advocate Utsav Bains filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that the complaint filed against CJI Ranjan Gogoi was a conspiracy to make him resign. Thirty-two-year-old Utsav Bains, who was born and brought up in Chandigarh city, had filed a plea demanding a probe into the Apna Ghar sexual exploitation case in Rohtak, Haryana. A former officer, who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018, had levelled allegations of sexual exploitation against justice Gogoi. In the wake of the complaint, the top court ordered to set up a three-judge in-house inquiry committee to probe the case.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Indira Banerjee was scheduled to look into the matter, but Justice N V Ramana dropped out of the in-house panel for unknown reasons, reports said on Thursday. Reports said CJI Gogoi himself wanted an inquiry into the matter and he asked Justice Bobde to do it. Justice Bobde then asked Justice Ramana and Justice Indira Banerjee to join him and the full Court approved it.

The departmental inquiry is being initiated against CJI Gogoi at a time when allegations of sexual harassment against him are flying thick and fast through both the mainstream and social media. Demands were made that CJI Gogoi must be subjected to a thorough probe as he is a man of the law who heads the apex institution of justice in the country on the pretext that if the allegation of sexual harassment is shoved under the carpet it will do no good either to him nor to the Supreme Court.