Accusing "institutional disrupters" of destabilising the institution of Chief Justice of India by "lending shoulder to unverified allegations" against the head of the Supreme Court, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Sunday called for "exemplary" action against such people.
"It's time to stand up with the judiciary", Mr Jaitley said in his blog, a day after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi.
The Supreme Court even held an extraordinary hearing on Saturday after a former employee of the top court accused the CJI of sexual harassment and persecution. The former employee has described two incidents of alleged molestation by Chief Justice Gogoi in her affidavit, both of which allegedly took place in October 2018, only days after he was appointed as the CJI.
Mr Jaitley said: "In terms of personal decency, values, ethics and integrity, the present Chief Justice of India is extremely well regarded. Even when critics disagree with his judicial view, his value system has never been questioned. Lending shoulder to completely unverified allegations coming from a disgruntled person with a not-so-glorious track record is aiding the process of destabilisation of the institution of the Chief Justice of India."
The minister also said that those who "peddle falsehood to destroy the institution are not dealt with in an exemplary manner, this trend will only accelerate."
The incident of a junior female employee of the Supreme Court making harassment charges against the Chief Justice of India has acquired a "disproportionate magnitude", Mr Jaitley said.
"Such complaints, when they are made in the ordinary course of any administrative functioning, are referred to the appropriate Committee. However, when the complainant distributes copies of her representation to other Judges of the Supreme Court and the media in order to sensationalise her allegations, it ceases to be routine.
"When four digital media organisations with an unparalleled track record of 'institutional disruption'' send similar questionnaires to the Chief Justice of India, there is obviously something more than what meets the eye," the minister added.
Justice Gogoi was sworn in as the 46th Chief Justice of India on October 3, 2018. He retires on November 17, 2019.
Mr Jaitley said India has witnessed a series of attacks by the 'institution disruptors'' against judges who are unwilling to agree with them.