Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: high court 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.

New constitution for India

India is in need of a new constitution. The problems faced by India are plenty and they cannot be solved by amendments.

1) India should be a federation. The boundaries of states must be fixed after considering all demands for new states and border disputes. At present there are demands for Telangana, Gorkhaland, Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Rohilkhand, Mithilanchal, Poorvanchal, Coorg, Kutch, Meru Pradesh and Bodoland. There are disputes about Belgaum and Kasargod. Every state should have its own capital. One city cannot be capital of two or more states.

2) India should have presidential system of democracy. President must be elected by MPs and Governors must be elected by MLAs. Parliamentary system is good when there is two party system. India has many parties and coalition governments at centre and states do not function effectively. Even price rise is blamed on coalition.

3) Parliament must be single house. States should have only Legislative Assemblies, not Legislative Councils.

4) States should have more powers. All powers except civil and penal codes, currency, communications, defence and external affairs may be given to states.

5) Right to property shall be a fundamental right. Farmers and others who do not want to sell their land or property to SEZs or companies should be able to hold on to their land and property and there shall be no acquisition by state.

6) There shall be no reservation on the basis of class, caste, tribe or gender in government jobs, government educational institutions, Parliament, Legislative Assemblies, urban, rural and other local bodies.

7) Supreme Court judges shall be appointed by President after approval by Parliament and High Court judges shall be shall be appointed by Governor after approval by Legislative Assemblies. Removal of Supreme Court judges shall be by Parliament and High Court judges shall be by Legislative Assemblies.

8) Constitutional amendments must be approved by three fourths of Legislative Assemblies.

India will soon complete 61 years as a republic. What was good in 1950 is not good in 2011 in spite of repeated amendments, many of which were unnecessary.

Corrupt Chief Justices of India

Shanti Bhushan, for law minister of India, has said eight of the 16 former Chief Justices of India were corrupt, six were honest and about two he is not sure. It means 50% of CJIs were corrupt. It means 50% of Supreme Court judges and High Court judges are corrupt. When S. P. Bharucha was CJI he had said 20% of the judiciary is corrupt. By Shanti Bhushan’s reckoning 50% of the judiciary is corrupt. It means 50% of judgments were wrong.

Shanti Bhushan must make public the names of CJIs who were corrupt. He must also reveal whatever he knows about their misdeeds. That will be a great service to the nation and help in cleaning the augean stables of corruption.

Some years ago chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission was under investigation for corruption. He, as per reports, took 75 lakh rupees each for appointment as DSP or judge. If someone pays 75 lakh rupees to become a judge what fairness can be expected of that judge?

Judges have used contempt of court provision to silence people from mentioning corruption in judiciary by holding that truth is not a defence in case of contempt of court. There was one magistrate who issued four arrest warrants for Rs.10,000/- each. The four to be arrested included the then President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and the then CJI Vishwanath N. Khare.

Removal of High Court and Supreme Court judges is a long process. It needs to be simplified. Removal of High Court judges should be by Legislative Assembly of the state. Removal of Supreme Court judges should be soon after sufficient number of MPs sign the petition.

It is not enough to remove corrupt judges. Suitable punishment should follow depending on the magnitude of corruption. Indian Penal Code needs to be amended for punishment according to magnitude of crime and consecutive sentences instead of concurrent sentences.

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