Panel to probe CJI charges sans input from other judges

PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Sunday clarified that Justice S A Bobde headed three-judge inquiry panel would "deliberate on the issue concerning the CJI without any input from any other judge".

The panel, also comprising two woman judges, Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, was formed after sensational charges by an ex-employee against the CJI and her affidavit sent to other judges surfaced in the media on April 20. 

On Sunday, the Supreme Court officially denied a news report that two judges Justices R F Nariman and D Y Chandrachud met an in-house inquiry panel, probing charges against the CJI, to express their concern for proceeding ex-parte.

Secretary General, Supreme Court, Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar issued a press release to term the report as "wholly incorrect".

"It is the most unfortunate that a leading newspaper has chosen to state that Justices Nariman and Chandrachud together met Justice Bobde on Friday evening," the statement said.

The report also said Justice Chandrachud has written to the panel to either accede to ex-employee's request for assistance of a lawyer or appoint an amicus curiae, otherwise it would hurt the Supreme Court's name.

The statement from Secretary General asserted that the panel is "deliberating on the issue concerning CJI deliberates on its own without any input from any other judge of this court".

The 35-year-old woman employee has on April 30 decided not to participate in the in-house inquiry committee of three judges, questioning the procedure adopted by it. She said she has not been allowed to represent herself through a counsel, and there has not been any video and audio recording of the proceedings. She also claimed the committee did not follow the Vishakha guidelines by allowing external members.

The panel, in turn, has decided to proceed ex-parte.

Notably, CJI Ranjan Gogoi has met the committee on May 1 and refuted all the charges.

Separately, former SC judge Justice A K Patnaik was also appointed on judicial side by a three-judge bench to inquire into "conspiracy aspect" on the basis of an affidavit submitted by an advocate, Utsav Singh Bains. 

Justice Nariman was a part of the bench that was headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprised Justice Deepak Gupta.

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