New Delhi: Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and the Lawyers Collective (LC) have issued a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s notice in a petition filed by ‘Lawyers Voice’ seeking criminal prosecution of Lawyers Collective for the alleged “mis-utilisation” of foreign funding under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA).
The statement alleges that Jaising and Grover’s organisation, Lawyers Collective is being victimised on account of Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure involved in connection with the allegation of sexual harassment against the CJI recently levelled by a former court employee.
Alleging malpractice, the statement claims that:
“It is obvious to us that this is victimisation on account of Ms Jaising taking up the issue of the procedure adopted in relation to the allegations of sexual harassment against the Chief Justice of India by a former employee of the Supreme Court, which Ms Jaising has done so in her capacity as a concerned citizen, a senior member of the Bar and a women’s rights advocate, without commenting on the merits of the allegations.
Considering that Ms. Jaising has been publicly vocal on the issue of due process of law in relation to the conduct of the in-house inquiry, the Chief Justice ought to have recused himself from hearing the matter.”
According to the press statement, the petition was filed on May 6, 2019 and while it had not been “orally mentioned” on May 7, it “came to be listed in Court no. 1 on May 8, contrary to the circulars and notifications of the Supreme Court in respect of listing.”
The statement also claims that while the petitioner’s advocate did not orally seek any interim orders, the court passed an order to the effect that the pendency of the petition will not come in the way of government agencies proceeding in the matter.
The press statement also clarifies that Lawyers Collective has not received any foreign funding since 2016 – when its FCRA registration was suspended and subsequently cancelled by the Ministry of Home Affairs on “false and illegal grounds” – and that the organisation “strongly disputes” the allegation that any funds have have been “misappropriated”.