New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi during the farewell ceremony of Justice A.K. Sikri in New Delhi, on March 6, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said some rich and powerful people want to control its functioning, as it heard for the third time the matter related to allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The court said these "fixers" must go.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said "people with money power are trying to run the registry of the top court...this is a really serious matter...people can be killed or maligned if truth is brought forth..."
Justice Mishra said after learning about the alleged network that is trying to manipulate the Supreme Court, "we are in anguish".
He also added that the bench has come to know these fixers are usually represented by senior advocates in the Supreme Court.
"We want to tell the rich and powerful of this country that they cannot run the Supreme Court," said an agitated Justice Mishra.
Advocate Utsav Bains, who has alleged a conspiracy against the Chief Justice after a former Supreme Court staffer alleged sexual harassment, submitted a fresh affidavit in the court.
The observations from the bench came after going through this affidavit.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Indira Jaising protested that the bench is heavily consumed in probing the defence of the Chief Justice who is facing allegations of sexual harassment.
She contended that such influence on the investigation would prejudice the complaint by the former top court staffer against the Chief Justice.
The bench assured her that both investigation are independent, and complainant in the sexual harassment case would be prejudiced.
Jaisingh also asked the court to probe the credentials of Utsav Bains, saying people who come to court, must come with clean hands.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta intervened by recommending the formation of SIT, but Jaisingh protested and requested the court to conduct a judicial inquiry.
As per the Solicitor General's suggestion regarding the formation of SIT into the matter, the bench said we can look into this aspect of investigation. The court also clarified that this probe would not prejudice the complaint made by the woman against the Chief Justice.
The bench told Mehta that this is a very serious matter, and "we want to get to the root of this bench fixing issue, and the issue is so serious that we cannot divulge the details."
The bench observed that some fixer who claims to be a relative of the woman, who leveled sexual harassment charges against the Chief Justice, approached Utsav Bains for removal of the Chief Justice.
"We don't know the identity of this person....we need to find out the truth," said the bench.