Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday jumped in support of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, saying that some ‘institution disrupters’ are trying to destabilise the Office of CJI by taking advantage of free speech. Jaitley’s support comes after a former woman employee at the Supreme Court alleged sexual harassment charges against Gogoi.
“It is time to stand up with the judiciary,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
On Saturday, Gogoi had convened an “extraordinary” sitting of the Supreme Court following reports in some online portals about a former woman staffer’s sexual harassment complaint against him. Gogoi called her charges part of a “bigger force…to undermine the independence of the judiciary and deactivate the office of the CJI”.
Accusing the Left-wing backed media outlets of shouldering unverified allegations, Jaitley said, “The last few years have witnessed the consolidation of ‘institution destabilizers’ in a major way. Many of these destabilizers represent Left or ultra-Left views. They have no electoral base or popular support. However, they still have a disproportionate presence in the media and the academia. They continue to believe in the old Marxian philosophy of ‘wrecking the system from within.’ They use free speech to destroy the judicial institution.”
“This section has found a convenient ally in a small but vocal section of the Bar. This section exploits the judicial refrain of excessively using the power of contempt. However, they themselves have no hesitation in contemptuous behaviour themselves. They go public against individual judges, including the Chief Justice when they fail to get a favourable order,” he added.
Jaitley was targetting the four media outlets which reported the representation submitted by the woman employee to the judges of the top court seeking setting up of a committee to look into her allegations against CJI Gogoi. The four media outlets were The Wire, The Caravan, Leaflet and Scroll.
The minister further said that those who “peddle falsehood to destroy the institution are not dealt with in an exemplary manner, this trend will only accelerate.”
Jaitley also accused the Congress of supporting such fringe elements. “Even though most of them subscribe to fringe ideologies and ideas, it is regrettable that a section of the Members of the Bar affiliated to the Congress Party tends to join them. Frequent attempts are made to get some Parliamentarians to sign Motion of Impeachment against judges and even the Chief Justice on unsustainable grounds. What has always puzzled me is the Congress lending support to such fringe campaigns”, the minister said.
Stating that reputation is an integral part of a person’s fundamental right to live with dignity, Jaitley said an intimidated judge can fear consequences of a possible view that he is taking.
“It is, therefore, essential that all well-meaning persons stand with the judicial institution when destabilizers get ready for an assault,” he said.