New Delhi: The Bar Council of India (BCI) of India has expressed its trust in the in-house inquiry that cleared Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment allegations earlier this month.
The council also blamed two former Supreme Court judges, Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice Madan B. Lokur, for the deterioration of Indian judiciary, following their comments on the clean chit given to CJI Gogoi in a case of sexual harassment filed by a former top court employee.
In an exclusive interview with ThePrint last week, Chelameswar said due process wasn’t followed in the case. On the same day, Justice Lokur wrote an opinion piece in The Indian Express, highlighting that the court was driven by “institutional bias” while dismissing the allegations raised by the woman.
“The issue of the concocted story of so-called harassment to an unknown Lady complainant has been buried to the grounds: But unfortunately we find that few persons are still trying to make unwarranted and uncalled for comments for the reasons best known to them,” BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in a press statement.
Seeking to highlight the “belated comments” of the two former judges, the BCI chairman said neither of the two “could become the Chief Justice of India and Justice Gogoi got this opportunity: This depends on one’s destiny and merit.”
“We are shocked and surprised to see the comments of the two judges after several weeks of the closure of this episode. What is their purpose, we fail to understand?” added Mishra.
“The council hopes that the two Judges would not make any further statement in the press which could further harm the institution,” he said.
In its statement, the Bar Council of India also pointed fingers at Chelameswar and Lokur for having orchestrated the starting point of “deterioration” — presumably of the judiciary — in the press conference held by them in January 2018.
The two were among the four judges — the others being Justice Gogoi and Justice Kurian Joseph — who triggered a crisis in the Indian judiciary in January 2018 when they held a press conference to publicly raise concerns about the handling of cases under then-CJI Dipak Misra.
“Bar has no hesitation in saying that it were these two Judges who had taken lead role in January, 2018 in holdings a Press-Conference and that was the starting point of Deterioration: we should not forget that Hon’ble Mr. Justice Gogoi told the very next day that there was no crisis in the Judiciary (sic),” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the statement also defended the in-house committee’s decision to not disclose its report to the complainant.
“In the considered opinion of the Bar and the responsible citizen of this country, if the report of the Committee is made public, it would cause serious harm to the lady-complainant,” it said.