The activists and advocates of Mumbai feel that the clean-chit was given to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi against the allegation of sexual harassment made by an employee of Supreme Court had many loopholes and scope of development. They have also asked to make the reports public. Some of them have mentioned the allegations as a part of a conspiracy against the Justice. However, they all agreed that more transparency was required for the hearing.
In general, the decision is not getting a warm welcome from the public. Immediately after the announcement of the decision, Section 144 was announced outside the Supreme Court. Similarly, protests were also observed in different parts of India over this decision. The city advocates also raised a question against the proceedings. Senior Advocate Abha Singh said that the legal course of action was not followed during the proceeding. She said, “I think this is not fair. She was not given lawyer to present her side, that’s why she moved out and then the X-party was involved in the case. The reports were not being made public. When asked, they refer it with Indira Jai Singh vs Supreme Court case. However, the main question over here is how can one deny to provide the report. On the other hand, if you are saying that the allegations were not true, why the cross FIR was not filed. There is a provision of cross FIR if the allegations were not found to be true.”
The Social Activists have also demanded a free third-party investigation of the decision made by any judge. Social activist Medha Patkar said that there should have been more transparency for the case. Patkar said, “She is not satisfied and many people have seen in. All the witnesses that she wanted to be presented before the committee, were not presented before the committee. We cannot comment on this situation, as the documents were not available. They should make all the documents available for the third party or general scrutiny. Some independent organisation should also carry on the inquiry in a very transparent manner. That’s the only way one can judge the judgement of the judges. She had objections to the modus operandi of the committee. There was no video recording. It is the time to review the judgement and take the due action.”
However, looking at the background of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and the type of important cases that are lined up in the court of Gogoi, the advocates and activists have also raised a voice whether there is any conspiracy behind the entire scenario. Veteran criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said that there is a need to check whether any bigger power is active behind this. Memon said, “First of all, the decision does have some loopholes such as the applicant had walked away from the proceedings and the X party was maintaining the case in her absence. Her advocate was not allowed to stand there which is also not right. The report was not publicised, it was kept confidential, sealed covered, how one could know the details of it. But, what is more concerning is that if the allegations of the woman is found not true, it should be investigated that why did she file a false complaint, what was her motive and why did she display the courage? It is the time to unfold the secret if there was any bigger power behind it. Meanwhile, a fresh petition was moved in front of Justice Nazir.”
Social activists also supported the thought that the probabilities against CJI should not be kept aside. Human Rights Activist Maruti Bhapkar said that it can be a conspiracy against the chief guest, however, fair chance should have been given to the accuser also. Bhapkar said, “Ranjan Gogoi is the Chief Justice of India. He has many important cases on board. He along with other three justices had taken a press conference during which he had mentioned the involvement of government in the judiciary. On the other hand, a committee was formed and the woman was told to present the evidence in front of her. The committee stated that the evidence did not have any substance. However, it was important to follow the nature of hearing and fulfill her demand for video recording of the hearing and cross investigations. It should have been followed and she must have given all the fare chances to present her side. There is a need to check whether this was a part of any conspiracy against Gogoi.”