New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking to bar the media from publishing allegations of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
While dismissing the petition, a Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup Jairam Bambani said the petitioner can approach the Supreme Court instead.
Petition BR Harish Babu sought restriction on the media from further telecast or publishing the allegations till the conclusion of the enquiry.
“Mere a false allegation affidavit, filed in Hon’ble Supreme Court on 19th April 2019 by the dismissed employee of the office of the CJI which is a notarized document cannot be built as a pillar to put allegations on the Chief justice of India,” the petitioner submitted.
The petitioner, an authorized signatory of ‘Anti-Corruption Council of India’ trust, sought strong action against social media giants like WhatsApp and Google for their alleged involvement in circulating and re-casting the defamatory content against the CJI.
The plea further said: “The petitioner strongly suspects that the news rotated putting an allegation against the Chief Justice of India is paid news which reflects direct hit on the image of the country itself by the country media.”
The writ petition made respondents to the Union of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the government of NCT of Delhi, Press Council of India, Scroll News, Commissioner of Police, and operational heads of WhatsApp, Google, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Lawyer Utsav Bains had claimed that former apex court employees came together to frame sexual harassment charge against Justice Gogoi with the help of some powerful lobbyists.
CJI Gogoi has been accused of sexual assault by a former female employee who worked as a junior assistant at the Supreme Court between May 2014 and December 2018.
A three-member in-house committee led by Justice S A Bobde, the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice, and including Justice NV Ramana and Justice Indira Banerjee was formed to look into the allegation against the CJI.
However, Justice Ramana, on Thursday recused himself from the committee following objections from the complainant.