ranjan gogoi
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is being framed in a case of sexual harassment.ANI

The Supreme Court on Thursday, April 25, ordered a probe headed by former judge Justice AK Patnaik into an alleged conspiracy in the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

Earlier today, the apex court expressed anguish over the systematic attack on the judiciary, saying that the rich and powerful of this country should stop "playing with fire".

The top court was hearing claims made by an advocate Utsav Bains, who said in an affidavit that the Chief Justice was being framed in a false case of sexual harassment that would force him to resign. The court will pass the order at 2 pm.

In the affidavit, Utsav had mentioned that he was offered Rs 1.5 crore to represent the former top court woman employee who levelled the allegation against the CJI.

A special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that it was anguished with the way the judiciary has been treated for the past 3-4 years. "The way this institution is treated in last few years we must say that we will not survive if this will happen," said a bench also comprising Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta. "There is a systematic attack, systematic game to malign this institution", the bench told a news agency.

On Wednesday, the court said that it would look into the allegations that former sacked employees of the apex court have ganged up to target the CJI. Lawyer Utsav Singh Bains has also alleged that there has been fixing of judgments, as well as of benches.

The bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Deepak Gupta had asked Bains to file an affidavit containing further information to back his allegations by Thursday.

ranjan gogoi
Chief Justice of India Ranjan GogoiIANS

In its order, the court made it clear that its hearing was limited to the allegations of conspiracy to frame CJI Gogoi and to fix judgments and benches, and would in no way have any bearing on the inquiry being carried out by the three-member committee of judges on the administrative side.

The court will also examine whether Bains could claim privilege over certain material and documents supporting his allegations.

Noting that the bench would be deciding on the question of whether any privilege could be claimed over the documents related to the allegations, Justice Mishra said that in his opinion, no such confidentiality could be claimed - a view supported by the Attorney General KK Venugopal, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the Supreme Court Bar Association President Rakesh Khanna.

The Directors of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as well as the Delhi Police Commissioner, met the three concerned judges in their chambers on Wednesday. The court has asked the CBI Director and the IB Chief to co-operate with Justice AK Patnaik.