On Monday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party MP Mahua Moitra raked up controversy yet again in the Parliament by raking up the sexual harassment allegations against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and current Rajya Sabha MP Ranjan Gogoi.
During her speech in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, she hit out at the Judiciary for supposedly ‘failing’ India’s democratic pillars. “India’s tragedy today is not that her government has failed her, but that her other democratic pillars, the media and the judiciary have failed her. The sacred cow that was the judiciary is no longer sacred,” she claimed.
“It stopped being sacred the day a 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 in three months of retirement complete with Z-plus security cover…The judiciary stopped being sacred when it squandered the opportunity to guard the founding principles of the Constitution.,” Mahua Moitra alleged.
After Moitra made the contentious remarks, the BJP opposed her speech reiterating that a person holding a high authority cannot be discussed with the prior approval of the Speaker. The Chair, held by RSP member NK Premachandran, noted that the TMC MP’s comments would be expunged if they are found to be objectionable. He allowed her to continue the speech but asked her to not make further references to ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
BJP lashes out at Mahua Moitra, pulls breach of privilege motion
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi informed, “Raising the issue of Ram Mandir judgment & bringing the then CJI and other things, it’s a serious matter and we’re thinking of taking appropriate measure.”
Raising the issue of Ram Mandir judgment & bringing the then CJI & other things, it’s a serious matter & we’re thinking of taking appropriate measure: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on TMC MP Mahua Moitra’s remarks in Lok Sabha yesterday pic.twitter.com/qxSfQWgs9q— ANI (@ANI) February 9, 2021
It must be mentioned that Article 121 of the Indian Constitution states that no High Court or Supreme Court judge, who discharged their duties, cannot be discussed in the Parliament. Besides, Rules and Procedures 352(5) of the Parliament also state that the House cannot discuss the conduct of those sitting in constitutional positions. The government sources have informed that they are likely to move a breach of privilege motion against Mahua Moitra.
Sexual harassment allegations against ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi and SC clean chit
In May 2019, the in-house committee of the Supreme Court had found no substance in the allegations levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. A former female employee of the Supreme Court had levelled allegations of sexual molestation against the CJI, after which the in-house committee was formed to look into the allegations.
The committee, comprising of Justices S A Bobde, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, submitted its report on 5th May, which said that they found no substance in the allegations contained in the complained dated 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India, according to a press release issued by the apex court. The statement also noted that in accordance with a former case of Indira Jaishing vs Supreme Court of India, the report of the committee is not liable to be made public.