Regarding Corruption in Judiciary
NHFS/140811/1 14rd August 2010 / Bangalore
Honorable Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister’s Office,
Room No: 148 B,
South Block, New Delhi – 110001
Subject: Regarding Corruption in Judiciary
About National Family Harmony Society®: “National Family Harmony Society®” NFHSis a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. We have branches in more than 16 states and in abroad too. We have approximately 16500 members all over India. To know more about us please visit http://www.family-harmony.org / http://www.498a.org.in.
I would like to draw your kind attention to the recent comments of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of State of West Bengal, Madam Mamta Banerjee.
“At times favourable verdicts are given in return for money. These days, judgments are purchased. There is corruption among a section of the judiciary. I know there can be a defamation suit against me for saying this. But this must be said and I am ready to go to jail for saying so,” she said in the West Bengal Assembly.
Judiciary has to be clean and corruption free because that is the only institution citizens has still some faith still left. There is no effective mechanism/body/institution to deal with corruption in Judiciary. Currently even though it a matter of common knowledge that corruption does exist in judiciary but it is not spoken openly just because people fear the contempt of court for criticizing judiciary.
Expecting the judiciary to correct its own shortcomings may be as hopeless as expecting the Indian Administrative Services to provide for the punishment of their own or expecting the politicians to clean up their own act. There must be a third party watchdog to “keep a watch“, scrutinize and “to take action” in case of allegations of misconduct and corruption. Judges are one among us and part of the society. There could be temptations to succumb to corruption and still not being caught.
- The recent shameful “Cash for Bail” scam involving judge T Pattabhirama Rao is fresh in minds of citizens of this country. Though privately it is an open secret that “Cash for Bail” is a flourishing business in this country but no one has guts to speak on this due to the power of the Judiciary who are enjoying the shield of “Contempt of Court”.
- The Supreme Court’s observations on the rot in the Allahabad High Court are disturbing. A Bench consisting of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said on November 26, 2010 that most judges of this High Court [Allahabad] are corrupt and collude with advocates. Sadly, many High Court judges are facing charges of corruption. The charge that many former Chief Justices of India were corrupt has given a new twist to judicial corruption.
- There is also the Rs 23-crore Ghaziabad PF scam in which a Supreme Court judge (since retired), seven Allahabad High Court judges, 12 judges of the subordinate courts and six retired High Court judges are allegedly involved. The key accused, Ashutosh Asthana, died in jail mysteriously in October, 2009. He had provided vital documents to the CBI that established connivance of these judges.
- Justice Sumitra Sen, Justice Nirmal Yadav, UP PF Scan involving Judges, Justice Katju’s remarks about Allahabad HC Judges and Justice Dinakaran are few example/incidents which would have never got exposed in 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s but have been exposed due to vigilant Media. These incidents had eroded the faith of the common man in Judiciary. The point is if a Judge is corrupt then why not to act swiftly against him/her before further damage is done.
Corrupt judges in the higher judiciary can be removed only by impeachment. However, this method is cumbersome. The problem is not just a question of devising proposals for removal. The Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, prefaces impeachment by judicial inquiry. In Supreme Court Judge Justice V. Ramaswamy’s case, the inquiry indicted him but the impeachment motion fell through in Parliament in 1992.
Justice Katju and Justice Misra also referred to the syndrome of “uncle judges”. The Union Law Ministry admits that this menace has spread to many High Courts, including those in Chandigarh, Shimla and Jaipur. In its 230th Report (2009), the Law Commission has recommended that in order to eliminate the practice of “uncle judges”, the judges, whose kith and kin are practicing in a High Court, should not be posted in the same High Court. Union Law Minister should work on a proposal to check this menace.
Corruption in Judiciary is very serious issue because impeachment mechanism to remove Judges in case of misconduct/corruption has failed miserably and is not effective. Hence we need a Lokpal/“Independent Constitutional Institution” who will not need sanction from President/Government to proceed against a Judge facing corruption allegations or misconduct allegations. We need a Lokpal/“Independent Constitutional Institution” who can investigate and if he finds prima facie evidence of corruption/misconduct against Judge then he can prosecute either through its police/CBI/own prosecution wing.
We need your pro-active intervention and pro active decision to see the misery of the common public who are facing litigations and are victims of such misconduct and corruption but are unable to speak a word due to the power of “Contempt of court”. The time has come wherein Judiciary should be transparent, should be open to fair amount of criticism, and should be open to investigation in case of alleged corruption.
Judges appointing Judges & Judges Investigation Judges & Judges promoting Judges will only result in Judges protecting Judges!!!
In view of the above said discussion we demand following
- Bring Judiciary (Both higher and lower) in the ambit of Lokpal/“Independent Constitutional Institution”
- Pass the Judicial accountability Bill as soon as possible.
- Whistle-blower should be protected from suppressive Contempt proceedings
- Suo moto power to Lokpal/“Independent Constitutional Institution” to investigate against any Judge including HC/SC of charges of corruption/misconduct.
- Lokpal/“Independent Constitutional Institution” should not require sanction from Government before proceeding against a Judge.
- Prosecute Judge if prima facie evidence is found and to suspend him/her immediately.
- The government should fast-track all cases of moral turpitude, corruption and nepotism.
- The process of impeachment of a judge should be speeded up with a time limit for obtaining the President’s sanction and impeaching him/her.
- There is a need to change the method of selection of judges. The current collegium system of appointment of judges has failed to attract persons of impeccable integrity to Judiciary.
- The country deserves a more credible, transparent and broad-based institutional mechanism for selecting judges.
- As the UK Supreme Court had done early this year, our apex court, too, should advertise vacancies in the Supreme Court and High Courts in the newspapers.
- Judicial orders/Judgments’ should be subject to the review by an independent body if it is felt that the order was passed by corrupt means.
We submit that our suggestions are just and reasonable and in the event of non implementation of our suggestions, we would be constrained to go to the streets with Dharnas, Public Fasting and resort to other democratic means of protests. Please save our great Nation.
Kindly send a copy of this petition for immediate action to Law Ministry and Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.
Jai Hind!! With profound respects,
P Suresh, President, M Mahesh, General Secretary,