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'I should have not been on that bench': Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi on sexual harassment allegation

11:18 PM Dec 08, 2021 | FPJ Bureau

NEW DELHI: Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said on Wednesday that it would have been ideal if he had not been part of the Bench which heard the suo motu case which came to be registered by the top court in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levelled against him.

‘‘In hindsight, I should not have been a judge on the bench. It might have been better if I was not part of the bench. We all make mistakes. No harm in accepting it," said Justice Gogoi. However, he added that it happened because the reputation that he had built as a lawyer and judge for 4.5 decades was being questioned.

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He also said that CJI Bobde who presided over the in-house committee could have ruled against him.

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"…I put my neck out and gave the noose to Justice Bobde. He would have been happy to hang me and get extra 7 months of extra tenure," said Justice Gogoi.

In the context of the sexual harassment allegations, Gogoi also said: "You cannot cow me down with shouting. This does not scare Ranjan Gogoi. I will not bow down to unconstitutional, if not extra-constitutional noises."

Talking with India Today’s journalist Rahul Kanwar, Gogoi was defiant as ever at the launch of his book 'Justice for the Judge,' an autobiography detailing his tumultuous tenure, reports Bar and Bench.

On executive interference in judiciary and its functioning, Justice Gogoi's response was "nil".

"Who would dare come and ask Ranjan Gogoi to do something? Tushar (Solicitor General Tushar Mehta)... Will you?"

Here are his other takes on burning issues of his day:

On the Ayodhya judgment

"I did not resurrect Ayodhya. It is a responsibility my predecessor gave to me and allotted a date. I had two options -- to run or to fight. CJI Bobde said I come from a family of warriors, I fought."

On why important matters were not heard expeditiously…

"I cannot interfere in a judge's day-to-day functioning. They are judges of the Supreme Court and they have to be given respect...On "expeditious," I cannot answer, because it will be speculative."

On why a judges' press conference was held

"We had to call the PC because we were unable to persuade the then CJI Dipak Misra regarding allocation of cases to benches. I hope it was the first and last occasion that judges had to address the press."

On his RS nomination

"I am least convinced about the allegations that Rajya Sabha seat was offered to me as quid pro quo for the Ayodhya judgment. These are all made up by media and newspapers."

On interactions with PM Modi

"I was given a special hotline to PM and Law Minister, but I threw it. Executive interference is possible to be made in hundred different ways and it depends upon the incumbent. I didn't meet the PM even once."

On private dinner hosted by PM Modi before Rafale judgment

"He came on November 26, on Constitution Day. I don't think anything wrong with it. They were judges who took selfies with the PM. They are the activist judges now."

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