Wrote letter to Supreme Court judges calling for different in-house panel to probe CJI Gogoi allegations: AG KK Venugopal

Bar & Bench May 10 2019

Even as the dust settles on the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, it has been reported that Attorney General for India KK Venugopal had written a letter to Supreme Court judges calling for a different panel than the one that eventually probed the charges.

According to reports, KK Venugopal had written a letter to all judges of the Supreme Court recommending that external members be brought on to the special in-house committee constituted to probe the charges against CJI Gogoi. He had suggested that retired woman judges be made part of the committee.

The Wire reported that this stance had caused friction between Venugopal and the Centre. However, speaking to The Hindu, he dismissed the report as baseless. He did, however, confirm that he had written the letter calling for a different composition of the in-house committee.

The veteran Constitutional Law expert has been serving as Attorney General since June 2017.

The way in which the in-house procedure was conducted has divided members of the legal fraternity. Sitting Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud had reportedly written a letter echoing Venugopal’s sentiments on the need for external members on the committee.

The in-house committee of three sitting Supreme Court judges – Justices SA Bobde, Indira Banerjee, and Indu Malhotra – had cleared CJI Gogoi of the sexual harassment allegations raised against him, even as the complainant refused to participate in the proceedings. The committee had also refused to publish the reasons for its verdict, placing reliance upon a 2003 judgment.

This decision caused a furore, with protestors taking to the streets around the Supreme Court.

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