The trial of the Chief Justice of a country can best be described as: “The hunter becomes the hunted.”
In Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, was unceremoniously booted out of office. He retired voluntarily when the heat was too much on him. It was the first time a CJN would be charged in Nigeria.
Onnoghen was found guilty by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) that he failed to declare his entire assets as stipulated by the rules of engagement.
In far away India, a similar scenario is underway as Justice Ranjan Gogoi will be facing charges of sexual harassment. Gogoi is the incumbent Chief Justice of India (CJI).
According to AFP, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court hearing charges of sexual harassment against Gogoi on Wednesday examined the evidence presented by a lawyer who claimed there was a conspiracy to frame the judge.
It was gathered that after examining the material submitted by lawyer Utsav Bains in a sealed cover, the judges said the matter was “very serious”.
They, however, called the chiefs of federal investigation agencies and Delhi Police for consultations, legal reporting website Bar and Bench said.
A junior assistant of the top court had written to 22 judges of the court on April 19 that Gogoi had made sexual advances to her at his residence office in October.
The court took up the case as a matter of great public importance.
It was further gathered that an affidavit filed with the court, the 35-year-old woman claimed that after rebuffing Gogoi’s advances she was moved out of his office and dismissed from service two months later.
The woman also alleged that her family was persecuted after the incident.
Justice Gogoi denied the allegations and claimed they were part of a bigger plot to destabilise the judiciary.
Report from India says a three-judge bench of the court is now hearing the case.
The apex court also appointed on Tuesday a three-judge panel to carry out an internal inquiry.
The report says the panel includes the two judges next in line to take up the chief justice’s post and a woman judge.
A social media campaign on workplace sexual harassment in 2018 forced several prominent men including India’s junior foreign minister MJ Akbar to resign.
If Justice Gogoi is found guilty, that may mark the end of his judicial career.
Recalled that the suspension and trial of Onnoghen forced him to voluntarily retire on April on April 4, according to The Punch.
A similar thing may play out in India.