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Petition To Invoke Criminal Proceedings Against Indira Jaising, Anand Grover & Others Listed In Supreme Court With Unusual Hurry

Is Jaising paying the price for speaking up about the sexual harassment allegations against the CJI?

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising who has been a vocal critic of the manner in which the Supreme Court has handled allegations of Sexual Harassment against Chief Justice Of India Ranjan Gogoi, finds herself named as a respondent in a petition filed before the apex court, seeking criminal proceedings against her.

Senior Advocate Anand Grover who also happens to be her husband and “Lawyer’s Collective” an organisation in which Grover is the director and Jaising the secretary has also been impleaded in this petition, which alleges “mis-utilisation of foreign funding given to lawyers collective”. The court has issued a notice in the petition.

Jaising, Grover and Lawyers Collective have issued a statement refuting all allegations while questioning as suspicious the timing of the petition. They pointed out that it had not received any foreign funding since 2016 when the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended its FCRA registration and rejected all claims of mis-utilisation of funds.

The statement states that it was obvious that this was victimisation on account of Jaising’s vocal criticism of the manner in which the apex court’s in house committee probed the charges of sexual harassment against Justice Gogoi.

It is pertinent to mention here that the committee has given Justice Gogoi a clean chit, has refused to make the report public and refused to even provide the complainant with a lawyer, actions which were widely condemned.

“Considering that Ms Jaising has been publicly vocal on the issue of due process of law in relation to the conduct of the in-house inquiry, the Chief Justice ought to have recused himself from hearing the matter,” the statement read.

The apex court’s Secretary-General, while announcing the clean chit to Gogoi, had said, “Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003) 5 SCC 494, it has been held that the Report of a Committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public.”

Responding to that, Jaising had tweeted “Not in my name,” adding, “This is a scandal. Indira Jaising v Supreme Court of India was also a case of sexual harassment by a sitting High Court of Karnataka. It is a pre-RTI case and is bad in law. Demand the disclosure of the findings of the enquiry committee in public interest.”

In their statement, the lawyers pointed out that the petition has been listed in violation of the apex court’s rules regarding listing and “contrary to the circulars and notifications of the Supreme court in respect of listing.”

In the statement, they also said, “It has been brought to our knowledge that during the proceedings today, though the Petitioner’s advocate did not orally seek any interim orders, the Court has passed an order to the effect that the pendency of the petition will not come in the way of government agencies proceeding in the matter.”

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