‘2 Years Passed; Remote Possibility Of Recovery Of Electronic Evidence’ : SC Says Closing Probe Into ‘Larger Conspiracy’ Against Ex-CJI Gogoi [Read Order]

first_imgTop Stories’2 Years Passed; Remote Possibility Of Recovery Of Electronic Evidence’ : SC Says Closing Probe Into ‘Larger Conspiracy’ Against Ex-CJI Gogoi [Read Order] LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK18 Feb 2021 6:53 AMShare This – x’No useful purpose will be served by continuing these proceedings’, the bench observed closing the case.The Supreme Court cited the remote possibility of recovery of electronic evidence on account of the passage of two years as a reason to close the suo moto case initiated in April 2019 to probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the sexual harassment allegations levelled against the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.”We are also of the view that two years having passed and the…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court cited the remote possibility of recovery of electronic evidence on account of the passage of two years as a reason to close the suo moto case initiated in April 2019 to probe into the “larger conspiracy” behind the sexual harassment allegations levelled against the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.”We are also of the view that two years having passed and the possibility of recovery of electronic records at this distance of time is remote”, observed a bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian on Thursday while closing the case.The suo moto case titled “In Re : Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary-Mentioned By Shri Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India” was initiated on April 25, 2019, after few media portals published the complaint of a former staff of the Supreme Court, who accused the then CJI Gogoi of sexually harassing her.  A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta had then appointed an enquiry commission headed by former SC judge Justice AK Patnaik to examine the conspiracy angle, after Justice Gogoi said in the open court that the sexual harassment allegations were a plot to “deactivate the office of the CJI”. The Court had also directed the CBI, Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police to give necessary assistance to Justice Patnaik in his probe.The bench had also taken note of the affidavit filed by Advocate Utsav Bains claiming that he was approached by certain “fixers” and “plotters” to file complaint against Gogoi.Almost two years down the line, the top court has closed the proceedings after taking note of Justice Patnaik’s enquiry report which opined that “it is not possible to find corroborative material qua the allegations of Mr. Utsav Singh Bains made in the affidavit”.The order passed by Justice Kaul-led bench further observed that the report of Justice Patnaik – which has not been made available in public domain – acknowledged that the “existence of a conspiracy cannot be completely ruled out”.The order also notes that Justice A.K. Patnaik has not been able to obtain various records including electronic records of Whatsapp, Telegram etc.  The report also referred to letter of the Director of the Intelligence Bureau which stated on account of the then Chief Justice of India taking serious tough decisions like in the case relating to National Register of Citizens (NRC), there was strong reason to believe that persons who were unhappy with those decisions hatched a conspiracy against the then Chief Justice of India.The report also referred to certain tough administrative decisions taken to streamline theprocess in the Registry.The bench observed that since two years have passed, it was unlikely to obtain electronic evidence. Also, the mandate of the enquiry panel was limited.  Hence, the bench observed that “no useful purpose will be served by continuing these proceedings”.”We are also of the view that two years having passed and the possibility of recovery of electronic records at this distance of time is remote, especially since the scope of the enquiry and the power of the learned Judge is limited, no useful purpose will be served by continuing these proceedings”.BACKGROUND In 2019, in response to some media reports on sexual harassment allegations against the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi made by a former Supreme Court employee, a three-Judge Bench of Supreme Court comprising of the CJI, Justices Arun Mishra and Sanjiv Khanna had held a special sitting. The former CJI had noted that there was a bigger plot behind the allegations and, that the people who had instituted the same wanted to “deactivate the office of CJI” and therefore, the independence of the judiciary was under very serious threat. In April 2019, a Bench of Justices Arun Misra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta ordered that the former Supreme Court Judge, Justice AK Patnaik, would hold an inquiry regarding the alleged conspiracy by fixers and disgruntled employees against the former CJI. During the course of the proceedings, the Supreme Court also considered an affidavit filed by Advocate Utsav Bains claiming that he was offered Rs. 1.5 crores by ‘fixers’ to frame sexual harassment allegations against the then CJI Gogoi. In August 2019, the Supreme Court-appointed one-man panel comprising of Justice Patnaik, holding the inquiry into allegations of “larger conspiracy” to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, completed its task and is likely to submit the report by mid-September 2019. However, till date, there has been no public information available pertaining to the report. In January 2020, the ex-Supreme Court staff who had made the allegations of sexual harassment by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi had been reinstated to services.Also Read : CJI Sexual Harassment Case : A TimelineCase DetailsCase :In Re : Matter Of Great Public Importance Touching Upon The Independence Of Judiciary-Mentioned By Shri Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of IndiaCase No :Suo Moto Writ Petition(c) 1/2019Coram : Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, AS Bopanna and V RamasubramanianCitation : LL 2021 SC 95Click here to read/download the orderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

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