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The Chief Justice of India urgently constituted a 3-judge bench at 10:30 am today to discuss a matter of “great public importance” touching upon the “independence of the judiciary”.

Issue - A former junior court assistant has levelled sexual harassment charges against the CJI.
In a hearing that lasted short of 30 minutes, the CJI said -

1. He will not “stoop so low” to deny the allegations against him

2. Judiciary is under attack and this is an attempt to dissuade him from hearing imp cases scheduled next week

3. Judiciary is being made a scapegoat
4. They cannot catch me on money, so they’ve brought this up. This is the reward after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs. 6,80,000.

5. I will sit on the bench without fear until the end of my tenure.

6. Country is under serious threat.
To justify why he was part of the bench that was constituted, the CJI said that it was important to point out that the judiciary is under very very serious threat “from the highest seat of the judiciary”.
The problems with this are aplenty-

1. How can sexual harassment allegations against an individual be termed as an “attack on the judiciary”?

2. Why was no due process followed by the CJI in formation of the bench and the statements made in court?
3. Based on media reports, the Attorney General, Solicitor General and 3 judges including CJI have casted aspersions on the character of the complainant without giving her a chance to defend herself. It was also pointed out that she had a “police record” & “two FIRs against her”.
Most importantly, CJI Ranjan Gogoi has today succumbed to doing exactly what he openly criticised his predecessor of - equating an individual to an institution & blatant violation of the principles of natural justice.

CJIs will come and go, but the institution will stay forever.
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