Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: corrupt judges

Fight against corruption must continue

India Against Corruption seems to have lost direction and momentum in fight against corruption. IAC wanted a Lokpal Bill. That did not happen. They wanted right to reject and right to recall. Both are unlikely to happen soon. Anna Hazare seems unable or unwilling to lead the agitation. Other members should resume the fight against corruption.

IAC members need not go on indefinite fast. They can go on chain hunger strike. Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan can fast for some hours every day. Then Shazia Ilmi, Gaurav Bakshi and Manish Sisodia can take their turn. Then some other people fast. Every day the cycle is repeated. The fight for Lokpal should be separate from fight for Lokayuktas.

Elections are said to be major reason for corruption. That is partly true. Many people who don’t fight elections are also corrupt. In India elections take place throughout the year in some part or other. IAC must fight for a single election day once in five years. Elections to all Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly, Zilla Parishad, municipality, panchayat and other local body constituencies should be held on a single day. That will reduce corruption. A candidate should be allowed to contest from one constituency only.

IAC should fight for presidential system. Parliamentary democracy has failed. Coalition compulsions result in wrong people being ministers. Even when there is single party government in states there is dissidence. Someone who is not chief minister tries to become chief minister. President should be elected by MPs and MLAs. Vice President should be elected by MPs. Governors should be elected by MLAs. Direct election to President, Vice President and Governors are expensive.

IAC should fight for an easy process to remove corrupt judges, bureaucrats and other officials.

IAC should fight against corporate debt restructuring. Corporates who have borrowed must pay the debt as per the conditions on which they borrowed. Properties of defaulters should be attached. List of borrowers and defaulters should be public.

IAC should fight for abolition of Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils. Parties sell Rajya Sabha seats.

IAC should not worry about not being representative of OBCs, Muslims, SCs, STs and so on. Those who talk of such things have lost elections.

Fight against corruption demands fight for a new constitution. IAC should draft a new constitution. Supreme Court judges should be appointed by President after approval by Parliament. High Court judges should be appointed by Governor after approval by Legislative Assembly. Let not IAC worry about self-styled followers of Ambedkar protesting against new constitution. Those followers do not have much following. Ambedkar did not write the constitution. He was the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution. The followers of Ambedkar have not protested when the constitution has been amended around hundred times.

Removing Corrupt Judges

Judicial corruption is the worst corruption. Judges are the ultimate hope for justice and when they are corrupt justice is denied.

Judges enjoy constitutional protection so they may do their job fearlessly. The procedure for removal of corrupt judges of Supreme Court or High Court is long and difficult. A motion has to be moved in Lok Sabha, signed by 100 members, or in Rajya Sabha, signed by 50 members. When the motion is admitted the speaker of chairman appoints a committee of three members. When the committee submits report recommending the removal of the judge the motion is put to vote and must be passed by two-thirds majority in both houses. The voting is presented to the president of India and the president removes the judge.

To simplify the procedure the law minister introduced the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill in November 2010. A person can make a complaint against any judge which will go to a committee of judges for scrutiny. The committee can dismiss the complaint if it finds it frivolous or send it to National (Judicial) Oversights Committee which may give a warning to the judge or recommend his removal.

Some have opposed the bill saying good judges far outnumber the bad and it is better to catch the bad eggs when they retire. That argument is not valid. One rotten egg in a basket spreads rottenness to other eggs. Catching judges after they have retired is locking the stable after horses have bolted. A corrupt judge has to be removed soon after his/her corruption is known. He or she should not be allowed to hold office for years after that.

Another argument is that the bill will make judges more populist and less fearless and in these times we need fearless judges. This argument overlooks the fact that we need fearless judges at all times. Our times are not much different from other times. There were corrupt judges at the time of Daniel, that was in 7th-6th century BC. Indira Gandhi spoke of committed judiciary and judges who did not deliver judgments according to her wishes were not promoted. During Emergency, Supreme Court judges except one effectively said the government can get away with murder when they did not uphold the right to life and liberty.

To say that with the aid of PIL judges can deal effectively with corrupt judges is to ignore the fact that some judges got appointed to the Supreme Court in spite of the president making known to the collegium of judges the corruption of those judges.

To say that if a sitting judge is found to be corrupt then with the permission of the CJI a criminal prosecution can be launched is to ignore the fact that CJI K. G. Balakrishnan refused permission to prosecute Nirmal Yadav. CBI wanted to close the case. The court told CBI to ask permission again. K. G. Balakrishnan retired and S. H. Kapadia became CJI and he gave permission. Then the Government of India sat on permission and gave it only when Nirmal Yadav was about to retire.

The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill may be made more simple. The scrutiny committee for scrutiny of complaints about Supreme Court judges may have MPs as members and the scrutiny committee for scrutiny of complaints about High Court judges may have MLAs as members. National (Judicial) Oversights Committee may have MPs as members.

Corrupt Chief Justices of India

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