BJP turns up the heat on the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, asks CM Kamal Nath to prove majority

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  • Sensex above 39300 and Nifty crosses 11800 as investors get richer by Rs 5.33 lakhs in a day as punters are buoyed by the exit poll predictions
  • After hectic parleys in Delhi, Chandrababu Naidu visits Kolkata to sound out Mamata Banerjee in case there is a hung parliament
  • Mamata Banerjee says exit polls are "gossip" and the Centre will manipulate EVMs
  • Exit polls predict between 11 and 16 seats for the BJP in West Bengal
  • Congress says exit polls are bunkum, the country is in for a surprise on May 23rd
  • Exit polls predict clear majority for NDA
  • Congress says it will not insist on the PM's post if opposition gets close to the half-way mark
  • Pragya Thakur says Godse was a patriot, retracts after rebuke from party
  • Modi offer to rebuild Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata, Mamata rejects offer, saying BJP alms are not required
  • Delhi HC says #MeToo can't be allowed to become a "sullying you too" campaign.
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) says homebuyers can seek refund if flat is delayed by more than one year
  • AFSPA might be lifted in Assam
  • Two climbers missing and two critical from an expedition tp scale Mount Kanchenjunga
  • Monsoon likely to be delayed by 5 days, to arrive on June 6
  • Supreme Court questions Bengal government over the delay in releasing BJP activist who posted a morphed image of Mamata Banerjee on her FB page
Justice Ranjan Gogoi PTI-1555757107
Justice Gogoi: Brazening It Out

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

There are two sacred principles in public life: one should not only be pure but also appear to be so and one should avoid conflict of interest. One more principle is there in the legal field: one must never be a judge in his own cause.

When charges of sexual harassment were leveled against CJI Ranjan Gogoi, he ceased to appear pure. Obviously, he is innocent till proved guilty of the charges, but the very fact that he occupies the highest judicial post in the country, it is required that he disassociates himself from all duties till the matter is resolved. Just raising the bogey of the independence of the judiciary being in peril is not going to help. The case needs to be taken to its logical conclusion and Justice Gogoi’s presence in the Supreme Court, even though he will obviously not hear the case, is not proper.

Then, bypassing all norms of propriety, the CJI constituted a special bench which included him, dealing a severe blow to avoiding conflict of interest. He recused himself after making opening remarks and did not sign the order passed (which was another first, as only the other two judges signed the order).

The Women in Criminal Law Association have issued a statement which states that “the legal institutional response to such a complaint as mandated under the “In-House Procedure” applicable to Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, along with the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) Act, (“POSH Act”) read with the Supreme Court Sexual Harassment Regulations, 2013, is for the designated inquiry committee to take cognizance of the complaint, constitute an inquiry committee and give notice to the respondent as to the initiation of such proceedings.” This was not followed.

When #MeToo allegations were made against Union minister MJ Akbar and many other public figures, mainly from the film industry, there were strong repercussions. Public pressure forced the minister to resign. Accused from other fields were isolated with some people even refusing to work with them. Remember, all this was before they were proven guilty, just to uphold the purity principle.

If MJ Akbar, Alok Nath and others are exonerated by the courts, they will be vindicated and will be welcomed back in their respective fields. Those who made the allegations will be suitably punished as per law. But till then, they have to be away from power, from anything through which they can influence the case against them.

The same goes for Justice Ranjan Gogoi. In fact, being the Chief Justice of India, it is all the more important that he stays far removed from the legal process that will now unfold to verify the charges leveled against him. The country is waiting with expectation to see what the judiciary does when faced with the dilemma of one of its own being charged with such serious impropriety. More than the independence of the judiciary is at stake and not in the way Justice Gogoi means it.