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Our responsibility is to keep this institution clean, says SC

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 24, 2019  | 20:33 IST

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) The Supreme Court Wednesday termed as "highly sensitive" the claims of fixing in the top judiciary and framing of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on allegations of sexual harassment, and said it was the responsibility of court to keep the institution clean so that its image is not tarnished. A three-judge special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that disclosure of certain names and allegations in the affidavit filed by advocate Utsav Singh Bains regarding fixing of bench in the apex court was a "very serious aspect". The three judges, who met the Directors of CBI, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Delhi Police Commissioner in chambers over the claims of Bains, directed them to seize the relevant material which the lawyer has filed in support of his affidavit. "It becomes our responsibility to keep this institution clean as well as to ensure that the image of this institution is not tarnished by such allegations to undertake the probe in the matter," said the bench, also comprising Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta in the order. "We are taking up the matter so as to ascertain the correctness of the averments made in the affidavit (filed by Bains), to ascertain the various aspects which have been mentioned which cannot be done without proper investigation and any order passed on judicial side by this court shall not affect the matter on administrative side," the bench said. It said police protection given to Bains shall continue until further orders. The bench took on record the affidavit filed today by Bains in a sealed cover. "It (affidavit) is to be kept in a sealed cover in total confidentiality as it contains highly sensitive information pertaining to the alleged conspiracy, according to him, to frame the Chief Justice of India into a case of sexual harassment," the bench noted in its order. It said that as per affidavit, Bains has said that he has met "certain persons at certain places". "We requested the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to report to this court and requested them to seize the relevant material in order to support the contents of the affidavit furnished by the officer of the court, Utsav Singh Bains, Advocate," it said. The court said that Bains has mentioned in his affidavit that "disgruntled employees have ganged together" in order to frame the CJI in a false charge of sexual harassment after their dismissal from their services. "He has named in particular, names of Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma and others," the bench noted. The CJI had sacked the two court officials -- Tapan Kumar Chakraborty and Manav Sharma -- for allegedly tampering with its January 7 order on the issue of personal appearance of Reliance Communication Chairman Anil Ambani in connection with the contempt matter filed against him by Swedish telecom group Ericsson. The CJI had passed directions to terminate the services of these two court officials who were responsible for noting the judge's orders and getting them uploaded on the apex court's website. In its order passed on Wednesday, the bench noted that Bains has given certain names in his affidavit and has alleged that they have asserted that they could fix the bench of the judges. "This is a very serious aspect of the affidavit filed by Utsav Singh Bains, a young man whose entire career is before him. He knows the consequences of filing false affidavit in this court. Considering the seriousness of the allegations as the system has absolutely no place for such fixers, we cannot leave the matter at that," the court said. "Before we order that and work out the modalities since Utsav Singh Bains, advocate, has submitted that he is in the process of filing an additional information in the form of an affidavit and that he will file the affidavit by 10.30 AM tomorrow i.e. on April 25, let him file the affidavit in the court at 10.30 AM tomorrow, containing all the relevant information," it noted in the order. The bench said with respect to some information in the affidavit filed earlier, Bains has claimed that certain information is "privileged". "Before we further dilate whether any privilege can be claimed or not, we would like to hear him as well as the Attorney General and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who is incidentally present in court today. They are requested to assist and guide us as to how much privilege can be claimed in such matters and to what extent," the bench said. The court also noted in its order the submissions of senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was appearing in personal capacity in the matter, that the affidavits filed in court and the order passed should not affect the inquiry to be conducted on administrative side in any manner whatsoever. "We clarify that the exercise which is undertaken by the court on judicial side is outside the scope of the said matter, the correctness of which has to be looked into on the administrative side by the appropriate authorities," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday. Justice S A Bobde, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, was Tuesday appointed to conduct an in-house inquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman employee of the top court. Justice Bobde had Tuesday told PTI that he has decided to form a panel by inducting two apex court judges -- N V Ramana and Indira Banerjee. PTI ABA MNL SJK RKS SA

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