Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
I have subscribed to a demand before President Smt Pratibha Patil for an independent enquiry into earmarking of eight of the former Chief Justices of India as “definitely corrupt”, as the accusation has come from a top ranking lawyer and former Law Minister of the country, Sri Shanti Bhusan.
Bhusan has enlisted 16 former Chief Justices of India namely Ranganath Mishra, K N Singh, M H Kania, L M Sharma, M N Venkatachalliah, A M Ahmadi, J S Verma, M M Punchhi, A S Anand, S P Bharucha, B N Kirpal, G B Patnaik, Rajendra Babu, R C Lahoti, V N Khare and Y K Sabharwa, categorizing eight of them as “definitely corrupt”, six as “definitely honest” whereas he has no definite opinion on the rest two.
The category-wise names are given to the Supreme Court in closed envelop challenging the Court to draw contempt proceeding against him if his naming of eight judges as “definitely corrupt”, is considered contemptuous to the Apex Court.
His challenge has not yet been accepted.
Many illustrious judges in the past have also given vent to their agony over corruption in higher judiciary. But for the first time a list of “definitely corrupt” Chief Justices of India has been placed before the Supreme Court by a man regarded as one of the finest lawyers of India and a former Law Minister of the country.
Any delay on part of the Supreme Court to take action on Bhusan’s assertion is harmful to rule of law.
If the Court does not accept Bhusan’s categorization, that should be based on public hearing with every bit thereof available to any Indian absolutely freely and instantly. If it accepts, rigorous punishment, even posthumously, need be given to the persons that being “definitely corrupt” have ruined credibility of Indian judiciary.
It is better for the Supreme Court to open the names of the Chief Justices placed under the “definitely corrupt” category, so that, they can personally defend themselves or admit their respective wrongs and accept punishment with retrospective effect.
The demand I have subscribed to puts premium on enquiry by an independent body outside the Supreme Court as judging the cases against formers Chief Justices by the incumbent judges may not be considered by common public as credible.
Yet I feel, open adjudication on Bhusan’s accusation should be preferred, as the accused judges should be defending themselves before the eyes of the people, the accuser marshalling his evidences in justification of his allegations.
Bhusan has definitely pushed the country into a deep predicament as his action has made us look the highest judiciary at askance. This is the bitterest harm to democracy of India within our living memory. This is more harmful than Man Mohan Singh subjecting the country to American nuke design and winning vote of confidence courtesy the JMM and Jadav horses as well as the right viruses.
The sooner this predicament is over the better.