NEW DELHI: A set of “institution disruptors” with Left and ultra-Left leanings, along with a section of the bar, have launched an unprecedented assault on the judiciary, finance minister Arun Jaitley said in a blog in which he strongly defended Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Writing in the context of allegations of sexual harassment levelled by a former junior woman employee of the SC against the CJI, the minister said the complainant’s action in distributing copies of her representation to other SC judges and media was done to sensationalise the case. The minister, himself a senior lawyer, said the action of certain digital media organisations with an “unparalleled track record of institutional disruption” in sending similar questionnaires to the CJI meant there was more than what met the eye. “For both the Chief Justice and judicial institutions, credibility and respect are essential. Once the ‘iqbal’ (goodwill) of judiciary is destroyed, the institution itself will crumble,” he said. “In terms of personal decency, values, ethics and integrity, the present CJI is extremely well regarded… 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 CJI,” Jaitley added. “Last few years have witnessed consolidation of ‘institution destabilisers’ in a major way. Many of these destabilisers represent Left or ultra-Left views. They have no electoral base or popular support but enjoy disproportionate presence in the media and academia,” Jaitley said. The senior minister can be said to represent the government’s view on the controversy that the CJI has been subject to a motivated attack. He said those behind the attacks on the CJI believe in the old Marxian philosophy of ‘wrecking the system from within’ and had found a convenient ally in a small but vocal section of the bar. Referring to the section of lawyers, the minister said they had exploited the judicial reluctance to use the power of contempt. “They go public against individual judges, including the Chief Justice, when they fail to get a favourable order… They have little regard for truth but masquerade as protectors of public interest,” he added. The minister said a section affiliated to Congress has tended to join the activism against the judiciary. “Frequent attempts are made to get parliamentarians to sign a motion of impeachment against judges and even the CJI on unsustainable grounds,” he said. Jaitley said an independent judiciary and free media were essential for democracy but one could not take on the task of destroying the other. “But of late, the rat race for grabbing eyeballs or viewership has begun. For the ‘institutional disruptors’ there are no red lines.” He said it was not an exaggeration that in and outside the court, a mass intimidation of judges was on. Making sense of 2019 #ElectionswithtimesView Full Coverage
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