Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi today strongly denied allegations of sexual harassment and said the independence of the judiciary is "under threat" and it "cannot be made a scapegoat".
In an "extraordinary and unusual hearing" presided over by him and called at a moment's notice on Saturday, CJI Gogoi took on the allegation of sexual harassment published against him by some online news portals, saying "things have gone too far" and "the judiciary cannot be made a scapegoat."
"Why do you think a person decides to become a judge? Reputation is all that matters for a judge. If that is also under attack, what is left?" he asked, reported The Hindu.
"This is unbelivable. I should not stoop low even in denying it. Rs. 6.8 lakh is all I have as bank balance... They cannot catch me on money, so they have brought up this. This is the reward a Chief Justice of India gets after 20 years and a bank balance of Rs. 6.8 lakh. Independence of judiciary is under very very serious threat. I had to tell this from the judicial seat," he said.
Chief Justice Gogoi alleged a conspiracy behind the allegations and said, "There has to be bigger force behind this, they want to deactivate office of Chief Justice".
The Chief Justice said the allegations had cropped up as he is scheduled to hear important cases in the Supreme Court next week. "I will sit on this chair and discharge my judicial functions without any fear... Things have gone too far. Judiciary cannot be made a scapegoat," he said.
The Chief Justice said the woman who made the allegations against him has a criminal background and that there are two police cases against her.
According to a NDTV report, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the allegations appear to be a blackmail technique.
The special bench of Chief Justice Gogoi, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna refrained from passing any judicial order "at this stage" and said they "leave it to the discretion of the media to exercise restraint and act responsibly."
"Faith of people in judiciary will be shaken by such unscrupulous allegations," Justice Mishra said.
Speaking for the Bench, Justice Mishra asked the media to exercise restraint, but did not pass any judicial order gagging the latter.
The day saw a sudden rush of events with the news websites publishing an article about a former Court employee accusing the CJI of making sexual advances towards her while she was working as a junior court assistant last year.
The woman, in her mid-thirties, complained of subsequent police harassment against her when she raised her voice about it. She alleged that she was unceremoniously dismissed from service. The woman, the reports said, had written to 22 Supreme Court judges on April 19 about her allegations.
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