Supreme Court constitutes 3-judge bench to initiate departmental inquiry against Ranjan Gogoi in sexual harassment case: The Supreme Court has set up a three-judge in-house inquiry committee to probe the sexual harassment complaint levelled against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi by a former officer who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018. A three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Indira Banerjee will look into the matter, 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.

This inquiry, which is likely to start on Friday afternoon, will be in the nature of a departmental inquiry and not a judicial inquiry. The Supreme Court on Saturday issued notice to advocate Utsav Bains and directed to produce material in support of the averments made by him in paragraphs 17 and 20 of his affidavit in the suo motu case. The newly constituted Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman and Deepak Gupta issued notice to Bains, who had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that there is a conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi.

Though Chief Justice Gogoi clarified the allegation was a larger conspiracy to destabilise the judiciary, an urgent hearing took place on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Dismissing allegations, he said there was a bigger force behind the woman making allegations and added that the independence of the judiciary was under serious threat.

Reiterating the allegations as baseless, CJI Gogoi said he was hurt with the allegations levelled against him by four media houses. The CJI also asked the media to show restraint to protect the independence of the judiciary. Following allegations, the Supreme Court on Saturday had an urgent hearing by a bench comprising CJI Gogoi himself, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

Justice Gogoi is the son of Keshab Chandra Gogoi, a former Assam chief minister during the Indian National Congress regime 1982.

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