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'Indian judiciary is no longer sacred cow'

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Congress Party Member of Parliament, Mahua Moitra, has sparked a controversy when she said that judiciary was no longer a "sacred cow" from the day "when sitting chief justice of this country was accused of sexual harassment, presided over his own trial, cleared himself and then proceeded to accept a nomination to the Upper House of Parliament within three months of his retirement replete with Z plus security".

Mahua Moitra did not name the chief justice but apparently she was referring to Justice Ranjan Gogoi who was nominated to the Rajiya Sabah (the Upper House of Parliament) on March 19, 2020 barely three months after retirement.

Tellingly, A 35-year-old woman had accused Gogoi of sexual harassment in April 2019. The former junior court assistant submitted an affidavit to 22 judges of the Supreme Court outlining how the then CJI had sexually harassed her, and how she was further victimized and dismissed from her post.

The apex court took suo moto cognizance of the allegations but had then followed it up with the creation of a special bench, headed by the accused (also the CJI) himself.

Gogoi called it a "conspiracy to malign" him, adding that he did not "deem it appropriate" to reply to the allegations.

A month later, in May 2019, a three-judge in-house Supreme Court inquiry panel, headed by now CJI SA Bobde, dismissed the complaint of sexual harassment against Gogoi.

Mahua Moitra, speaking in the parliament on Monday said while being critical of India's judiciary: "The judiciary stopped being sacred when it led migrants walk to their deaths, let our great activists rot in jail and today it is a mute spectator when our young are prosecuted for cracking a joke."

She demanded that the three new farm laws that have drawn protests from farmers be repealed. The TMC MP said the government chose "brutality over morality" in failing to address the concerns of the protesting farmers on Delhi's borders, and added that it was shameful for Ministry of External Affairs to respond to Twitter posts by a teen climate activist and an American pop star.

Moitra also said that India is facing an "undeclared emergency" and accused the government of muffling protesting voices from students to farmers and old women of Shaheen Bagh, remarking that 'the coward is brave only armed with power and authority. You are not courageous but a coward'.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi's pro-Modi decisions

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has showed its bias towards the rightist government of Narendra Modi.

Justice Gogoi was awarded for his decision in favor of the rightwing racist government of Narendra Modi.

In a bizarre ruling, on November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court held the Babri mosque's demolition illegal but handed the plot of land to Hindus, who believe the site is the birth place of Lord Ram, a much venerated god-king. The court directed that another plot in Ayodhya be provided to a Muslim group that contested the case.

In another very controversial case, the matter of purchase of 36 Rafale jets, the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Modi government, ignoring several clear pieces of evidence that the government kept crucial elements away from the court during the hearing. The Supreme Court also dismissed review petitions filed in the matter.

Not surprisingly, the above-mentioned two Supreme Court decisions were presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi who was nominated to the Rajiya Sabah (the Upper House of Parliament).

According to Scroll, Gogoi was in such a hurry that just three days left before his retirement he decided to deliver several important verdicts on almost everything he had on his plate. From the Sabrimala review plea, the Rafale review petition to the Finance Act 2017 and the government takeover of tribunals and the transparency of the office of CJI under RTI, the fate of such big judgments were passed in just three days.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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