Pictures of the Chief Justice of India sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle without a helmet and mask had gone viral on social media.

Didnt know who owned bike CJI Bobde on viral pictures of him on Harley-DavidsonTwitter/utkarsh_aanand
news Controversy Monday, June 29, 2020 - 14:54

Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde issued a statement after pictures on him on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle went viral on social media. The pictures showed him sitting on the parked motorcycle without a helmet and a mask, and many Twitter users questioned why the Chief Justice was not following norms amid a pandemic.

The Times of India reported that the Chief Justice clarified that he wanted to buy one after retirement and had asked a dealer in Nagpur, where he currently is, to show him one. The dealer sent him his bike and the CJI tried it out without taking a ride, sources told TOI.

A controversy erupted after Twitter user Saket Gokhale dug out the registration details of the motorcycle. The motorcycle bore a Chhattisgarh number and is registered under the name of Rohit Sonbaji Musale, who is the son of Sonba Musale, a BJP leader from Nagpur.

“Merely a coincidence: The bike which Hon’ble Chief Justice is riding has registration number CG05BP0015. The bike is registered to Rohit Sonbaji Musale, son of Sonba Musale who is a BJP leader from Nagpur & was their nominee in the 2014 Assembly polls from Saoner. Small world,” Gokhale tweeted.

Sources told TOI that the Chief Justice was not aware whom the motorcycle belonged to. TOI reported that the Chief Justice was in Nagpur for an official programme and since the venue was located close to the dealer’s shop, the latter, also seen in the viral picture, had sent a bike over to allow Justice Bobde to try it out. Justice Bobde is currently in Nagpur and has been hearing cases via videoconferencing from his official residence.

The CJI did not know whether a political leader owned the bike, and being a motorcycle enthusiast had just wanted to have a look at the vehicle, the sources added.

Justice Bobde reportedly owns two motorcycles that he had gotten before his elevation as the CJI. He had often been spotted around town on his Royal Enfield Bullet even when he used to live in Nagpur.