In corrupt actions inside court by any element of the Justice dissipating machinery, it is the litigant who suffers most and has the least means of seeking redressal. Doesn’t it need drastic reforms? It is indeed shocking what our Judiciary has turned into over the last 65 years since Independence. It is unimaginable corruption that has crept into the Judiciary which is supposed to uphold the Law of the Land. It is obvious where extraneous factors play a role, the justice system takes a back seat and it is certainly not in the long term interest of a vibrant democracy. Yet, the Judicial Commission and the Consortium being created to replace the existing system of selection of Judges needs to be with high level of integrity and above partisan politics. Otherwise, the system will ruin further. People are losing confidence in the judiciary mainly due to the long gestation period of litigation, with crores of cases are pending to see the conclusion. According to the report, as of February 2006, 33,635 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, with 26 judges; 3.34 lakh cases in the high courts, with 670 judges; 2.5 crore cases in 13,204 subordinate courts. In 1999, it was estimated that at the current rate of disposal of cases it would take another 350 years to dispose of pending cases.
In the Bombay High Court, a PIL on corruption will be heard in January 2015. This is high time, public should come forward with whatever information they have and expose the corruption in Judicial system of India. Manisha Mhase, daughter of Justice SB Mhase was arrested by CBI for mediating on behalf of her father. Her aunt Justice Sadhana Jadhav is under scanner for sabotaging bail hearing of an accused at the instance of Sheth developers. Sadhana had granted illegal stay upon the proceeding under Prevention of Corruption Act against Ashok Chavan. Justice Abhay Thipsay had granted bail to NSEL scamster Jignesh Shah illegally when the case was already transferred to CBI. Thipsay went to the extent of observing that the complainant investors were aware of the frauds. Supreme Court had sanctioned FIR into the complaint of bribery involving Justice A.M. Khanwilkar. A private person is chargesheeted under PoC Act; but Khanwilkar is yet to give statement.
CBI arrests lawyer Manisha Mhase, the daughter of a former high court judge, on charges of demanding a bribe of Rs. 30 lakh to influence members of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. Manisha’s father currently heads the state equivalent to the commission. The agency names Pune-based lawyer Sunil Shirole as beneficiary and conspirator. While Shirole goes absconding, CBI arrests two more suspects Somnath Sutar and Hansraj Singh.
A public interest litigation filed by a law student recently had sought the courts directions for restraining the retired judge from the commission in the wake of bribery charges against his daughter. The petition said that the court’s intervention was necessary to keep the judiciary’s image clean. Another CBI source said that the agency might seek the help of justice S B Mhase in the case. Meanwhile, in a relief for S B Mhase, whose name is being dragged into the case, the high court refused to order his removal from the state consumer disputes commission. However, the division bench of justices Sharad Bobde and V K Tahilramani observed that it would not be appropriate for them to pre-judge a case that was still being investigated by the CBI.As a court of law, we are bound to uphold innocence until guilt of a person is proved, they said. The petitioner’s lawyer, Ramesh Jaiswal, told the court that the CBI had recorded a conversation between the complainant and the accused in the bribery case, and it had some serious connotations.
Corruption in judiciary and judicial appointments is not surprising at all. However, public should be aware about this and should protest against it. Recently, Justice Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, made the revelation that a “tainted” judge was confirmed in his post owing to political pressure. Now, Justice Katju has written a blog post making fresh allegations of corruption in the judiciary. There was a judge in a high court that had a very bad reputation about his integrity, and on this account was transferred to Allahabad high court. Later, with passage of time, he became the acting chief justice of Allahabad high court. Some people started demanding that he be made chief justice of some high court, and later brought to the Supreme Court. The then Chief Justice of India, Justice Kapadia, had received several complaints about this judge.
Widespread bribery of judges around the world and inappropriate political interference in legal systems deny millions their right to a fair and impartial trial. There are various reasons for increasing corruption in the judiciary, delays due to the shortage of judges and complex legal procedures are making Indians take recourse to corrupt measures to get justice.