Tag: supreme court judges

CAG and 2G

There is an attempt to discredit CAG Vinod Rai and question his credibility. CAG had put the loss due to 2G scam at 1,76,379 crore rupees. Some have got hold of a report of an official, R. P. Singh, Director General of Audit (Post & Telecommunications) who had put the loss at 2,645 crore rupees. R. P. Singh had corresponded with Department of Telecommunications. On 23/10/2011 CAG had commented on the file “I wish we had not written to DoT.” Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta had commented “Please convey CAG’s observations to DG (Singh). Also please reiterate that he is not to write to Secretary DoT on this or any other issue for the present.”

Congress has problem with leakage of CAG report but has no problems when leakages suit it. Being selective does not help. When the 2G scam became public TV channels had put the loss at 60,000 crores rupees. CBI’s estimate of loss is around 30,000 crore rupees. CBI is controlled by government. If Supreme Court had not monitored the case CBI would have said there was no loss as Kapil Sibal had said.

CAG is a constitutional authority. He is not a servant of the government of the day. If he finds any subordinate not doing his job properly he has the right to overrule him. In judiciary there are various courts but the decision of the Supreme Court is final. It can overrule High Court or other courts. High Court can overrule Sessions Court. In Supreme Court judges on the same bench disagree and judgments are by majority. There is nothing strange about CAG overruling DG.

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

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.