Art & Culture
- Sexual Harassment Charges against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
- All You Need to know about Electoral Bonds
- Electoral Bonds controversy
- NaMo TV controversy
- General Elections 2019
- RBI Governor bats for a Permanent Status to Finance Commission
- PM Modi’s Mission Shakti Speech & Model Code of Conduct
- Sadhvi Pragya Thakur’s latest Controversy
- Rafale deal document controversy
- Should SC Judges be under RTI ambit?
- Supreme Court Judgement on Tainted Candidates
- VVPAT verification
Governance & Social Justice
- Candida Auris : Drug- resistant fungi
- Candida auris infection
- Healthcare System for India, Difference in USA & European healthcare model?
- Lateral Entry in Civil Services explained
- Model policy for Women in Police
- NIRF India Rankings 2019 declared
- Quality Assurance Scheme
- Sex on false promise of marriage is rape
- Survey 2019 Ambitions Beyond Growth report by UNESCAP
- World Health Statistics Overview 2019 report on Life Expectancy
- World Press Freedom Index 2019
- Supreme Court compensation order on Bilkis Bano case
- WHO guidelines on physical activity for children under 5 years of age
- Global Talent Competitive Index 2019
- Algeria Political Crisis
- EU’s new Copyright Law, Will it change Web Worldwide?
- India Pakistan Kartarpur Corridor Talks
- India to Become NATO Ally?
- Japan Starts a New Era
- Julian Assange Arrested
- Sudan Political Crisis
- Trump designates Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran
- United Nations Has to Pay India $38 Million
- US labels Revolutionary Guard of Iran a terror organisation
- US Mexico border wall controversy
- Why is UAE Important for India?
- Why is Chile Important for India?
- India Pakistan Conflict De-escalation Mechanisms
- India suspends cross LoC trade with Pakistan
- What is Arab Spring 2.0?
- India to stop buying Oil from Iran
- Trump withdraws from UN arms treaty
- Asian Development Outlook 2019
- China’s growth after slowdown
- Foreign Investment in India
- India’s 20th Livestock Census
- India’s transition to Renewable Energy from conventional sources
- Indian Army Builds The Longest Bridge of India Over Indus In Leh
- India Energy Modelling Forum by NITI Aayog & USAID
- National Common Mobility Card launched
- Rise and fall of Private Airlines in India
- Rise in Global Crude Oil prices & weakening Rupee
- Slowdown in Industrial Growth & rising Inflation
- Supreme Court order on EPFO
- Supreme Court quashes RBI’s 12 February Circular on NPA
- What are Junk Bonds?
- What is Fixed Maturity Plans?
- What is GDP deflator? Is it more comprehensive compared to WPI and CPI?
- What is Trader’s Credit Card Scheme?
- What is Wholesale Price Index?
- 1st Bimonthly Monetary Policy review – April 2019
- National Rubber Policy 2019
- Sensex hits 7 months high, History & Functions of Bombay Stock Exchange
- Supreme Court orders RBI on RTI
- What is Dedollarisation?
- Asian Tea Alliance
- Pepsico vs Farmers Issue
Defence & Security
Science & Technology
- Dhanush Artillery Guns
- Combat Casualty Drugs
- The Indian Museum of the Earth (TIME)
- EMISAT Satellite Launched
- Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric
- First Ever Image of a Black Hole
- India to Buy MH60 Romeo Helicopters
- Nepal and Sri Lanka Launch Their First Satellites Raavana 1 & NepaliSat-1
- Nirbhay Missile Successfully Tested
- High Bacteriophages in Ganga River
- Army invokes Emergency Powers for Missile Deal
- Cell Based Meat
- INS Imphal Guided Missile Destroyer
- Draft Indian Forest Act 2019
- Gujarat Fishermen’s victory in US Supreme Court
- Humpback Mahseer Fish included in Critically Endangered list by IUCN
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)
- Jammu & Kashmir Environment Issues
- Madras High Court order on Chennai Salem Highway
- Monkey declared Vermin in Himachal Pradesh
- Neelakurinji Flower under Severe Threat
- Solar eWaste
- Special Postal Stamp on Ice Stupas released
- State of Global Climate report 2018
- What is Green Finance Ecosystem?
- Wind turbines are impacting ecology in Western Ghats
- All about Wild Food Plants
Spice of the Month
- GS 2 || Polity ||Judiciary || Supreme Court
Why in news?
- The manner in which a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi convened and suo motu heard a case involving sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by a former Supreme Court employee have thrown up a cloud of doubt about the impartiality of the SC.
- After online news portals published allegations levelled by a woman against the CJI, the Bench was convened at a short notice.
- The hearing sparked a public debate on –
- whether the CJI was sitting as a “judge in his own cause” and
- whether the Bench should have followed the principles of natural justice by giving the complainant a fair chance to be heard in the first place before passing remarks about her.
- Former court employee: The complainant, a former junior court assistant, had made her charge in the form of an affidavit, supported by purported evidence, and sent it to 22 judges of the court.
- It referred to likely witnesses to the alleged sexual harassment and victimisation.
- The woman, in her mid-thirties, complained of subsequent police harassment against her and alleged that she was unceremoniously dismissed from service.
- The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed allegations leveled by a former staffer of the court against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi as “wild and baseless, designed to attack and erode the independence of the judiciary”.
- The CJI who was presiding over the bench, however, did not pass any gag order against the media on reporting this. Instead the bench urged the media to exercise restraint in the matter.
- The Court left it to the media to act responsibly in publishing anything so that the independence of the judiciary was not affected by the “wild and baseless” allegation against the CJI.
- Open court hearing: The decision to hold an open court hearing is questionable. A complaint of this nature requires an institutional response on the administrative side.
- Inquiry: There is an internal process to initiate an inquiry mandated by the law regarding sexual harassment at the workplace.
- The Supreme Court itself has an internal sub-committee under its Gender Sensitization and Sexual Harassment of Women at Supreme Court (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Guidelines, 2015.
- In-house procedure: There is a separate ‘in-house procedure’ to deal with complaints against judges, under which their judicial peers, and not outsiders, will examine them.
- Bench: The CJI ought not to have presided over the special Bench that took up the matter that concerned himself.
- The onslaught on the complainant’s credibility and the references made to her alleged criminal record when she was not a party to the proceedings are deplorable.
- It is ironical that as one who was aggrieved that senior-most judges were kept out of Benches handling major cases, he went on to form a Bench that included himself but not the two senior-most judges after him.
- Nor was there a woman judge on the Bench.
- Credibility issues: The manner in which the Supreme Court responded on the judicial side to allegations of sexual harassment made by a former employee against the Chief Justice of India is a textbook example of how not to deal with such a complaint.
- The institution of the Supreme Court has been thrown in a turmoil with its head, the Chief Justice, getting involved in a major controversy with no precedent or rules to resolve the situation.
- Address institutional issues: The urgency with which the matter was taken up on the judicial side, hurriedly heard by a bench which included the CJI himself but no woman judges, where the CJI held forth against the complainant without including his name in the judicial order has raised legal eyebrows.
- To supplement the actions already taken on the judicial side by the CJI, the apex court could also respond to the institutional crisis through a full court being convened on the administrative side.
- The grey area of the rules of the in-house procedure, which has no provisions for dealing with a complaint of this nature against the CJI, can be best tackled at such a forum.
- Response of judges: More importantly, any response involving all the judges of the Supreme Court is bound to find greater acceptability among jurists and the wider public.
- It would also shift the spotlight away from the CJI and underline that the institution itself will work out its response.
- Any process that they suggest will have to exclude the CJI and also not be ad hoc in nature.
- It would still involve consultation with other brother judges of the apex court for the response to be institutional — and going beyond the individual.
Principles of Natural Justice
- In English law, natural justice is technical terminology for –
- the rule against bias (nemo iudex in causa sua) and
- The basis for the rule against bias is the need to maintain public confidence in the legal system. Bias can take the form of actual bias, imputed bias or apparent bias.
- the right to a fair hearing (audi alteram partem)
- The right to a fair hearing requires that individuals should not be penalized by decisions affecting their rights or legitimate expectations unless they have been given prior notice of the case, a fair opportunity to answer it, and the opportunity to present their own case.
- the rule against bias (nemo iudex in causa sua) and
- What is the law to deal with allegations against sitting judges? Examine the lacunae in law and how should the gap be filled.