DON’T KILL THE JUDICIARY

“TAKE ALL THE ROBES OF ALL THE GOOD JUDGES THAT HAVE EVER LIVED ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, AND THEY WOULD NOT BE LARGE ENOUGH TO COVER THE INIQUITY OF ONE CORRUPT JUDGE,”said the great American social reformer Henry Ward Beecher.

Though Indians complain of judicial delays as the Salman case is good example what is worrisome is CORRUPTION within the judicial system as this leads to high levels of corruption in all spheres of life because a corrupt judicial system shields the criminals of all hues.

India has never had a corruption-free judicial system giving way to mega political corruption scandals. No politician has ever talked or doing something to revamp the judicial system to make it more people friendly and corruption free.

One reason why corruption is a hidden snake in judiciary is the lack of transparency about what is being done within the judicial system to check corruption. Like quotas and secularism being declared a Holy Cow the judicial conduct too has been declared as such as no one dares to talk openly for fear of being punished.

If there is ethics defined to make what constitutes corruption in the judicial system I am sure like me, many are not aware of. This is what helps corruption to flourish in judiciary.

India was once known for its piety and fair play. But after venal Congress rule for six decades India has lost its character. This venality of Congress, like a spreading forest fire, has taken in its fold the judicial system – see how Indira Gandhi played with the judiciary by superseding three honest SC judges – which now gasps for fresh breath to gain effectiveness and integrity. The Bar and police too have become complicit in corruption and are quick to thwart much needed judicial reforms. This is one reason why Laloos and Mayawatis roam scot-free because courts wobble deliberately for years, postponing or even defeating accountability on dispensing quick justice.

Transparency International had termed our judicial system highly corrupt. What more shame can be there for us? Nor does higher judiciary act against corruption in the subordinate courts to set an example. All High Courts do have in-house vigilance sections addressing corruption amongst subordinate court judges. It is said in most cases complaints received by High Courts against judicial officers and court staff are investigated and action taken. But are these actions effective?

Funnily Judicial corruption often escapes notice because of an arcane law called the “contempt of court” act, which — only Quota India has it! — that prohibits raising any questions about judges or their actions.

One should recall what Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan had said about “half of the last 16 Chief Justices of India having been corrupt.”

Being hauled in a petition by Harish Salve, Bhushan had to file a supplementary affidavit with evidence backing his statement about corrupt judges. However Bhushan pointed out the difficulty in getting documentary evidence of corruption in the higher judiciary because no investigation is allowed against judges, nor can he turn to any disciplinary authority for help as even filing an FIR against a judge requires prior permission from the Chief Justice of India.

Father of Prashant and former law minister Shanti Bhushan too then filed an affidavit saying eight out of the last 16 Chief Justices have been corrupt and submitted their names in a sealed envelope to the bench. “IT WILL BE GREAT HONOUR TO SPEND TIME IN JAIL FOR MAKING AN EFFORT TO GET FOR THE PEOPLE OF INDIA AN HONEST AND CLEAN JUDICIARY,” Shanti said.

One must thank the Bhushans for their courage when everyone is scared of taking on the might of the judiciary. What Bhushans are trying to do for India is to get an opportunity for public cleansing which requires sharing of information in public interest.

I don’t understand why judges should be scared of politicians and become a tool in their hands.

Laloo to win the LS and Bihar elections asked a retired SC judge UC Banerjee to cook up a report saying that “train at Godhra was never burnt” thinking that it will please Muslim voters. Why did UC Banerjee become an accomplice in this shady deal?

CHIEF JUSTICE Ranganath Mishra of the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Congress party, despite there being considerable evidence implicating senior leaders of the party in the genocide of Sikhs. Later CBI brought out the evidence which Mishra had ignored.

There are umpteen other cases when judges were made pliable by the Congress and it will be difficult to recount here as it will become too long. But a few will suffice.

Chief Justice Ahmadi quashed the charge of culpable homicide in the Bhopal Gas leak case when evidence was to the contrary. Seven benches were changed during the hearing of this case, the only common judge in all these benches was Justice Ahmadi who was Chief Justice and constituting the benches.

This was miscarriage of justice to such an extent that the Supreme Court later thought it fit to issue notice on a curative petition filed by the CBI 14 years after that judgment.

Chief Justice Sabharwal passed a series of orders for sealing commercial properties in Delhi, operating in residential areas. This forced shops and offices to shift to shopping malls and commercial complexes being constructed by builders and developers resulting in increasing their prices enormously. At precisely the same time when Justice Sabharwal passed these orders of sealing, his sons entered into partnerships with some of the largest shopping mall and commercial complex developers and thus made huge profits. Moreover, the registered offices of his sons’ companies were at the official residence of Justice Sabharwal at this time!

Apart from this, Sabharwal’s sons were allotted huge commercial plots by the Mulayam Singh government of Uttar Pradesh in Noida at highly concessional rates, at a time when Justice Sabharwal was dealing with the case of Amar Singh’s tapes, the publication of which he had stayed.

As a result of these transactions, the sons of Justice Sabharwal, who till he started dealing with the sealing case, were small traders going on to purchase properties worth in multi crores.

To a question if bribes are being paid to get bail, former chief justice of India VN Khare said: THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. It is rampant. Corruption in the lower courts is no secret. Sometimes, in the high court as well, cases of corruption have surfaced.

Of course Khare was hinting that burgeoning corruption in judiciary was some way related to work overload and pendency of cases. The high court judges are certainly overburdened. In a population of 1.3 billion there are only 13.2 judges for 10 lakh people. This is shameful.But can these be an excuse?

The root cause of Indian corruption can be traced to Nehruvian type of Stalinistic democracy due to excessive regulations (Licence Permit Raj), complicated tax structures and corrupt licensing systems, lack of free market competition, monopoly of certain goods and service providers by government-controlled institutions (LPG for instance where cylinders can be had in black), monstrous insensitive bureaucracy, lack of punishment as babus are considered Gods.

Then Chief Justice of India Justice JS Verma tried to help by bringing ‘Restatement of Values of Judicial Life’ consisting of sixteen values to govern judicial conduct. However, it was only a set of non-enforceable guidelines easy to ignore. It had no institutional framework for monitoring and enforcement.

Narendra Modi must act before it is too late to set things right.

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