Former Justice AK Patnaik had been tasked with investigating a larger conspiracy in the allegations against Justice Gogoi.
Closing an inquiry set up after former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was accused of sexual harassment, the Supreme Court today said that the possibility of a conspiracy against Justice Gogoi cannot be ruled out.
Such a conspiracy could be linked to Justice Gogoi’s decisions, including his views on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and his attempts to streamline the Supreme Court registry, the Supreme Court said.
Former Justice AK Patnaik had been tasked with investigating a larger conspiracy in the allegations against Justice Gogoi and “whether middlemen and fixers working with disgruntled court officials were trying to fix judges”. The Supreme Court’s decision was based on the report filed by Justice Patnaik. In 2019, after lawyer Utsav Bains raised the possibility of a conspiracy in the allegations that surfaced against Justice Gogoi, the court had ordered the inquiry.
“The Justice Patnaik report acknowledges the existence of a conspiracy against the ex-Chief Justice and it cannot be ruled out,” the Supreme Court said, adding that the panel was unable to obtain electronic records.
“Certain tough administrative decisions were taken to streamline the process in the registry,” the apex court said.
The Intelligence Bureau director had said in a report that Justice Gogoi had taken a serious view in cases related to National Register of Citizens and there were “strong reasons to believe some are unhappy with the decision”, the court noted.
The top court, while closing the case, said: “We are of the view no true purpose would be served. Pleadings are closed and suo motu disposed of. The report be put in sealed cover.”
The committee was not set up to inquire into the allegations against the Chief Justice but to investigate a larger conspiracy to frame judges, the judges clarified.
The report noted that because of limited access to records and based on evidence and material, it was also not possible to find corroboration for the allegations.
“However, in view of the mandate of the order dated 2019 of the Supreme Court, the report opines that it cannot really enter into whether the decisions of the Chief Justice on the judicial side triggered off the conspiracy against him,” the SC said.
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