S.O.S e – Voice For Justice – e-news weekly
Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
Editor: Nagaraja.M.R.. Vol.08..Issue.24….….16/06/2012
“There is a higher court than the court of justice and that is the court of conscience It super cedes all other courts. ”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Answer My Lord ???
Stage set for arrest of suspended Andhra CBI judge
The stage was Saturday set for the arrest of suspended Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge in a cash-for-bail scam which has sent shock waves among the judiciary across the state.
After receiving a nod from Andhra Pradesh High Court to register a case, the CBI may arrest any time First Additional CBI Judge T. Pattabhirama Rao on charges of taking bribe to grant bail to former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case, sources here said.
CBI sources said the investigative agency would register a first information report before carrying out the arrests.
An Andhra Pradesh cabinet minister, two Karnataka legislators, a retired judge, a rowdy sheeter and the suspended judge’s son are also believed to have played a role in striking the deal.
The exact deal amount remained a mystery but it is believed to be anywhere between Rs.5 crore and Rs.15 crore.
The judge allegedly demanded Rs.15 crore but the deal was finally struck for Rs.10 crore. He allegedly received Rs.3 crore as advance before granting bail to Reddy May 11 in the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) case.
The CBI Friday recovered part of the amount from bank lockers belonging to the judge’s son.
The CBI, which grew suspicious of the judge’s action, started investigations after a go-ahead from high court Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur.
The investigators tapped the judge’s phone and questioned him, his son and others. The chief justice was informed of the preliminary investigations and, based on this, he suspended the judge late Thursday.
Janardhana Reddy’s family allegedly approached the judge through Yadagiri, a rowdy sheeter of Nacharam area in Hyderabad, who then got in touch with a retired judge. A state minister is also suspected to have helped in the deal.
Janardhana Reddy’s brother and Karnataka legislator G. Somasekhara Reddy allegedly met the middlemen in a hotel in Hyderabad to finally strike the deal. The accused’s brother allegedly handed over the money, brought from Bellary town in Karnataka.
Despite Pattabhirama granting the bail, the mining baron remained in Bangalore jail, where he is lodged in another illegal mining case.
On a petition by the CBI, the high court later stayed the bail.
The mining baron was arrested by the CBI from Bellary Sep 5 last year in a case of illegal mining in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
The CBI claims to have recovered nearly Rs. 1.80 crore here from a bank locker, the keys of which were allegedly in possession of the son of Special CBI court judge T. Pattabhiramaa Rao, who has been suspended on charges of bribery and corruption by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The agency had carried the search based on a source based input that a deal was allegedly struck between Rao and former Karnataka Minister G. Janardhana Reddy for granting bail to the latter in the illegal mining case, CBI sources said today.
Before proceeding with the search, the CBI officials took Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court in confidence and apprised him about the input received by them, they said.
After getting a green signal from the Chief Justice, a CBI team got the locker opened and recovered nearly Rs. 1.80 crore from it which the agency suspects belonged to Reddy and was allegedly given as illegal gratification, they said.
The sources claimed that the officials found the keys of the lockers to be in possession of Judge’s son.
The matter was again put before the Chief Justice who ordered suspension of Rao, they said. Senior officials of the agency said there are three options – the case is probed by local police, CBI files a new FIR or adding the charges in the ongoing trial against Reddy.
They however added that any further action could take place only after getting permission from the High Court.
“First Additional Special Judge for CBI cases Pattabhirama Rao has been placed under suspension after the High Court considered the information it received against the judge in ‘public interest’, the High Court Registrar said in a release.
Incidentally, the judge had granted bail to former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy in the OMC illegal mining case last month while he had rejected bail to IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi, another accused in the OMC scam.
The need for a Judges Accountability Bill
Off late there is a lot of talk regarding the necessity to have a Judges Accountability Bill. Even when the Lokpal Bill was being debated the inclusion of judges into this bill was strongly opposed by the government despite members of the civil society urging the government to make such an inclusion.
Off late there have been reports galore regarding judges being offered sites or houses under the discretionary quota of the Chief Minister. Recently there was an expose at the Orissa High Court. Prior to this there were reports from Karnataka and also another report which spoke about how the Narendra Modi government had offered prime lands to judges of the High Court.
The big question is whether judges deserve such treatment from the state government considering the fact that the government is the biggest litigant before any court in the country? Is this an illegality or is it corruption?
Justice Santhosh Hegde, former judge of the Supreme Court of India says it is illegal to accept sites under the discretionary quota. Judges ought to know that while accepting such sites they are succumbing to temptation. They have to examine any such offer and find out properly whether it is in accordance with law or not. It is very dangerous to accept such favours since in the days to come it would hold against themselves.
Speaking of a judges accountability bill, well there is one but it has not come out as yet. This has been loitering around for some years now and it is time that something is done about it. In fact while we were discussing the Lokpal bill this was one of the primary contentions during the debate. Either the government had to include it into the Lokpal Bill or make functional the judges accountability bill. However there was a lot of misunderstanding regarding this. All I said was it was not right to leave out the judges when we are fighting corruption. They should include this portion into the Lokpal bill. However once the Judges Accountability Bill is made functional then it could be deleted out of the Lokpal bill. There was no need to keep this in abeyance until that happened. When this issue is being argued and fought for the past 44 years then it is impertive for the government to include it.
Senior Advocate in the Karnataka High Court, Navkesh Batra is of the view that taking sites under the discretionary quota is nothing but corruption. First and foremost Judges are not entitled for a site under this quota. This quota is meant for poor people, outstanding people including judges. It cannot be given as a bul allotment as it amounts to nothing but a sop. When the government is the biggest litigant before any court in India then such a sop does not instill confidence in the public and it would be better if both the government and the judiciary abstains from such an act. Here I would like to quote the incident involving the great Justice R A Jagirdhar of the Bombay High Court. In fact he was the only judge who refused to apply for a site despite a request by the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He even went one step further and at a public function when the CM sought to shake his hand he publicly rebuked him by saying, ” Mr CM your cases are pending before the high court. As a high court judge I refuse to shake your hand.”
LAND SCAM IN TAMILNADU One for my officer, one for my boy…
Land and property are coveted assets. So why are chief ministers allowed to give these away as favours? JEEMON JACOB tracks how Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has been using his quotas
IN NOVEMBER, Chief Minister of Karnataka BS Yeddyurappa almost lost his job, due to the uproar over preferential allotment of land and property to his sons and close associates. He has since cancelled the allotments, asked his children to move out of his official residence, and retained his seat through some deft political manoeuvring and muscle-flexing. At the height of the campaign against him, as political opponents paraded on apparent moral high ground, TEHELKA published details of plots similarly allotted by previous Karnataka chief ministers, both of the Congress and the JD(S), to relatives, servants, drivers, maids and partymen (LAND SCAM 2.0, 4 December). The purpose was not to make Yeddyurappa’s wrongdoings look less shocking, but to show that the problem was endemic and needed rooting out. The right given to chief ministers to hand out public land to a favoured few — relatives, bureaucrats, judges, police officers and others — smacks of nepotism and arbitrary feudal power structures that should have no place in a modern democracy. (Though there is no immediate proof of this, some of these allotments could also be benamitransactions, in which the ultimate ownership remains with the distributor of the largesse, camouflaged by a stack of fake documents.)
This power — euphemistically called “discretionary quota” — has even been used to favour allegedly corrupt army officers like General Deepak Kapoor (AT EASE WITH GREASE, TEHELKA, 20 November), who was given a large 500 sq yd plot in Haryana by the Hooda government, which then faced the embarrassment of refusing him permission to sell it off before five years had elapsed, as per rules. The plot was given to him by the government as preferential allotment in recognition for his ‘outstanding achievement’.
This week, continuing its campaign against out-of-turn allotments of land and property, TEHELKA has an exposé on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. The Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) which commands a large land bank, has a government discretionary quota (GDQ) under which 15 percent of all allotments can be recommended by the CM. Eligibility for allotment under GDQ is as follows: single/deserted women; widows; social workers; physically handicapped persons; defence personnel; ex-servicemen; eminent persons in the field of science, arts, literature, economics, public administration and sports; freedom fighters; government servants with unblemished service records; employees of PSUs, central government undertakings and nationalised banks; PF institutions; journalists; university staff; and employees of local bodies and municipalities.
While some of these categories sound kosher, most of them raise a fundamental question: why should the government have the power to give coveted land to select employees and journalists over others? The only rationale could be proximity — which is an untenable reason for being the beneficiary of political favours, often worth several crores.
Setting this aside, even within the legal ambit of the GDQ, TEHELKA’s investigation shows that many of the allotments in Karunanidhi’s tenure have violated the rule book. Many bureaucrats and their relatives have been given plots or flats under the category of “social worker”. Some of these last did social work when they were in college; many of them claim to be volunteers in such routine activity as helping in blood donation or eye camps. Many have issued certificates to themselves; some have acquired letters from the Lions and Rotary Clubs with vague endorsements. In other violations, the rules say that no one who has any other land or property in Tamil Nadu or any other capital city, in either their own or spouse or minor children’s name, can apply for GDQ allotments. TEHELKA found this is routinely violated.
The other brazen violation lies in the claim of “unblemished” service records as a qualification for allotment. When RTI activist V Gopalakrishnan sought a list of such bureaucrats, Additional Secretary S Solomon Raj said, “As no unblemished government servant certificates are issued, the question of furnishing a list of names does not arise.” The additional secretary also clarified that the home department didn’t have such a list. This is the phantom category under which many public servants like Jaffar Sait, 1986 batch IPS officer, now Inspector General of Police–Intelligence, got large allotments of land in prime locations. Why them more than hundreds of others? That’s a democratic question the chief minister will have to answer.
PHOTOS: THE HINDU, JEEMON JACOB
‘GDQ is a way of making you part of the syndicate’
BY JEEMON JACOB
A1990 batch IAS officer, C Umashanker shot to fame during the AIADMK regime when he exposed a scam in the construction of sheds in a cremation ground under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana when he was additional collector in Madurai. His brush with AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s partymen resulted in his transfer out of the district.
Later, when the DMK came to power, he was appointed managing director of the state-run Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu and put in charge of procuring colour television sets for free distribution to the poor in the state, in keeping with an election promise of the DMK. He was transferred with immediate effect after he exposed corporate fraud committed by the joint venture promoter ELNET Technologies Ltd.
Later, he was posted as managing director of the state-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation. In this capacity, he opposed the monopoly of Sumangali Corporation run by Kalanidhi Maran. He also took steps to nationalise Sumangali Cable Vision. By that time, Maran had a patch-up with the Karunanidhi family and Umashanker was transferred with immediate effect.
Later, the anti-corruption and vigilance department registered a case against him for disproportionate assets. The government suspended him for claiming fake caste certificate as a Dalit when he is a practising Christian.
He lodged a complaint with the National Backward Commission against his suspension and got a favourable order from the High Court. At present, he is managing director of Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation.
Umashanker was allotted a plot (under government order 2D 325) on 3 April 2008 at Thiruvanmiyur Extension when he was in charge of the free colour television for the poor programme. For this, he would have had to pay 55.12 lakh. He wrote to the chief minister that he could not afford to pay such a huge amount. Later, his allotment was cancelled without stating any reason.
Umashanker revealed he had an MIG flat in his name when the plot was allotted and he was not aware about the rule of Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) that he can’t claim a plot when he has another flat in his name.
It certainly seems commendable that Umashanker turned down a chance to own a plot in Thiruvanmiyur Extension, one of the poshest areas of the city. The plot is just 300 metres from the beach.
Though the entire colony has been parcelled out to those close to the ruling establishment, it is the nouveau riche and the industrialists who dream of owning a house in Thiruvanmiyur, where they can rub shoulders with former judges, bureaucrats and political power brokers. If and when the allottees decide to sell their plots, they can demand extremely high prices.
In a frank chat, Umashanker talks about how the government discretionary quota has been misused. Excerpts:
Why are bureaucrats, judges, former judges and politicians given housing plots in posh localities under government discretionary quota?
Who can refuse a good piece of land in Chennai city? It’s a way of rewarding people for good work done. No inquiry has been conducted in this matter so far. Discretionary quota is the prerogative of the government. After RTI came into existence, several activists are taking up the matter in court. Basically, there is no control mechanism or checks and balances. There is little transparency while awarding the GDQ — the plots are allotted without formal applications.
You were also allotted a plot in 2008 under the ‘unblemished government servant’ category. What happened to the allotment?
Yes, I was allotted a plot in Thiruvanmiyur Extension. Initial payment for the plot was Rs. 25 lakh. I never had that much money. So I requested the government to reduce the price. But there was no response. I did not want a house to compromise my integrity. So I never took possession. Later, in 2009, the government ordered a vigilance inquiry against me and cancelled the allotment. Frankly, I was not aware about the TNHB rules that bars a person having a plot, a flat or a house from claiming another plot.
Do you think the GDQ quota is a way of silencing people, buying them out?
Yes, it is a way of making you a part of the syndicate. Plots or flats are given to those civil servants, judges or relatives of the bureaucrats or politicians for complying with certain requirements. There is no procedure for IAS or IPS officers to get a land or plot or flat in a transparent manner. So everybody uses short cuts.
Minister’s DQ proves judges are more corrupt than civil servant
NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: An investigation by Cobra post and IBN Network has revealed how former and sitting judges of Orissa, police officers and bureaucrats have received flats from the DiscretionaryQuota (DQ) of ministers. As a matter of fact, successive Urban Development Ministers in the Naveen Patnaik government have misused the discretionary housing quota.
According to the revelation, the judges have got the ‘minister quota’ flats out of turn and at cheaper rates.
The IBN Network accessed letters of judges written to the government asking for prime property in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
Prime properties were acquired in Cuttack at concession rates, bypassing the Cuttack Development Authority. In fact, Sectors 10, 11 and 13 of Cuttack’s Abhinav Bidanasi project has practically become a judges’ residential colony.
Former Chief Justice G B. Patnaik is a resident of flat 1B/22 in Sector 11 while former Orissa High CourtJudge Radhakrishna Patra has flat 1B/23 in the same sector, given out on lease.
Supreme Court judge Deba Priya Mohapatra, Orissa High Court judges Sanju Panda, Madan Mohan Das, Nityanand Prastuti also own flats in Sector 10 and 11.Papers for the flats were prepared quickly and some judges even got preferred plots.
Most of the allotments took place between 2000 and 2007, under the BJP cadre Urban and Housing Development Minister Sameer De who was State Development Minister from 2000-2004 and then Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo who called the shots from 2004 to 2007.
All that the judges had to do was written to the Minister. The CNN-IBN has a letter written by Justice Madan Mohan Das to the CDA Chairman and to Minister Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo, asking for a B-Category Flat in Sector 10, saying he would ensure a third party transfer of a C-Category Flat already owned by his wife.Justice Das was allotted the flat in just six days.
When asked why the discretionary quota was used to make the allotments, Sameer Dey, former Orissa urban development minister, said, “The Orissa act does not have any such rule. There is 5 per cent and 10 per cent allocation in discretionary quota. Apart from that we don’t have any rule.”
Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, former Orissa urban development minister, said, “The rule is that only those who apply for the project can be allotted land via Discretionary Quota. So if any such person does not apply what can we do?”
CNN-IBN has also found that many of the judges who were allotted land through the discretionary quota already own ancestral property in Cuttack. Yet the ministers were allotted the land they asked for.
Judicial Layout Site Allotment – BRIBE TO JUDGES ?
JUDICIAL CORRUPTION IN INDIA
MY LORDS, THERE’S A CASE AGAINST YOU
Former Union law ministers are spearheading a campaign against sitting judges they accuse of being corrupt. What is the higher judiciary doing to clear itself of these grave charges?
The campaign by some senior lawyers and former law ministers who have questioned the integrity of sitting high court judges is set to ratchet up the growing confrontation between the legislative and the judicial arms of the government. Former Union law ministers Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani are leading the battle against what they claim are corrupt practices in the highest echelons of the judiciary.
Bhushan has categorically condemned the rot he feels has set in the judicial system. “The judiciary of this country is not merely unaccountable, but corrupt and brazenly so,” he wrote in a letter to President APJ Abdul Kalam on December 17. Bhushan has demanded that the President initiate impeachment proceedings against Justice Jagdish Bhalla of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahbad High Court. On December 14, a Supreme Court (SC) collegium recommended that Justice Bhalla be appointed the Chief Justice of the Kerela HC.
Bhushan and Jethmalani, along with noted lawyers and former justices, including Rajendra Sachar, Indira Jaisingh and Hardev Singh, have formed the Committee on Judicial Accountability (COJA) and presented documents to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), YK Sabharwal, to support their complaint against the sitting judges. COJA complained to the CJI on July 11 that Justice Jagdish Bhalla had amassed several illegal properties in the name of his wife and other close relatives. Justice Vijender Jain, the former senior Judge in the Delhi High Court, who was recently appointed the CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC, is also in COJA’s line of fire.
By questioning the integrity of Justices Bhalla and Jain, Bhushan has thrown open the much larger question of judicial accountability. (See interview) “Leave aside taking any action against corrupt judges like Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice Vijender Jain, the CJI has been actually avoiding even properly investigating charges against them,” says Bhushan. According to documents produced by COJA on 21 July 2003, Renu Bhalla bought a 7,200 sq. metre plot near the Noida-Greater Noida expressway. On 28 March 2005, Uday Shankar, dsp, Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida’s official name) submitted a report to the area dm in which he states that the sellers of the plot belong to the “land mafia”. In an enquiry submitted to the dm on 26 June 2005, RK Singh, the area sdm, also described the sellers as belonging to the “land mafia”. According to the two reports, the plots constituted a portion of the gram samaj (joint village property) land, illegally grabbed by the “land mafia”. (All the documents relating to the transaction are in possession of Tehelka)
The SDM’s report says that at the time of the transaction, the plot was worth Rs 7.20 crore in the open market, whereas Renu Bhalla paid Rs 5 lakh for it. The two reports also state that the sellers of the plot have been charged in several criminal cases, and had sold plots to several influential people to curry favour with them. Renu Bhalla is the wife of Justice Jagdish Bhalla.
Bhushan has also drawn attention to the July 2005 draw of lots for allotment of plots in Sector 44 in Greater Noida. When the computerised draw threw up several influential names, a few people approached the Allahabad HC alleging foulplay. In October 2005, the HC decided that the case warranted a fresh draw of lots and ordered a cbi inquiry into the scam. Among those who had been allotted plots in the scrapped list were Aarohi Bhalla and Sheeba Sabharwal. Aarohi Bhalla, who is the son of Justice Bhalla, was allotted plot number f-52, while Sheeba Sabharwal, daughter-in-law of the CJI YK Sabharwal was allotted plot number f-78. In November 2005, the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad HC judgement, putting the cbi enquiry and the HC’s order to hold a fresh draw of lots on hold.
Members of COJA have offered to discuss the matter in person with the CJI but they say that they are still waiting to hear from him. Five months after their initial request, they sent another application to the CJI in November. This time they sought his permission to register an FIR against Justice Bhalla, claiming that their initial evidence was enough to register an offence against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“The CJI did not even call us to hear our point,” says Bhushan. “I don’t know why Justice Sabharwal is shielding Justice Bhalla!” Bhushan is equally critical of Justice Vijender Jain.
Justice Jain, who took oath as the new CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC in November, had to endure many delays before he could be appointed to the post. The CJI had to make three efforts to promote Justice Jain. A collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India first recommended Justice Jain’s name for the post in July. However, President APJ Abdul Kalam returned the file, causing a minor embarrassment to the CJI and the Union government. When the collegium reiterated its recommendation through the government in November, the President had to sign the file.
Earlier in May, a proposal by the CJI to make Justice Jain CJ of the Maharsahtra HC was stonewalled by a judge in the three-member collegium who questioned Justice Jain’s integrity. The member on the panel cited a complaint made to former CJI RC Lahoti against Justice Jain in January 2005. The CJI revived the proposal a month later, but again a judge on the collegium opposed his appointment. Finally, a fortnight later, in July 2006, the CJI made his third attempt to promote Jain, this time to the Punjab and Haryana HC.
This time around, to address dissenting voices, the CJI also consulted other SC judges who happened to be former chief justices of the Delhi High Court. According to reliable sources, Justice Jain’s former seniors also questioned his integrity. However, on the basis of a majority, the proposal to promote him was forwarded to the Union government for the President’s assent.
A major hurdle in promoting Justice Jain continued on page 8 continued from page 6 was a complaint by one Subhash Agrawal who approached then CJI RC Lahoti in January 2005 with the complaint that Justice Jain had violated the code of conduct for judges. Agrawal claimed that Justice Jain gave a judgement in favour of someone with whom he had “family relations”. He produced a copy of the invitation card of the litigant’s granddaughter’s wedding, held in April 2001. According to the card, the venue of the wedding was the official residence of Justice Jain. (Tehelka has obtained a copy of the wedding card from the Central Information Commission). In November 2004, Justice Jain, hearing an appeal, decided a civil suit in favour of the person who had held his granddaughter’s wedding at his official residence.
When there was no response to his complaint in October 2005, Agrawal approached the SC to find out the status of his complaint under the rti Act. He was told that his complaint was in the relevant HC file. Not satisfied, Agrawal approached the Central Information Commission. On the commission’s insistence, the SC finally told Agrawal that his complaint had not actually been forwarded to the HC, as the SC has “no administrative jurisdiction” over high court judges. Therefore, the complaint was pending before the CJI, YK Sabharwal. The commission asked the CJI to act on the application. The CJI finally settled the complaint, saying he found no merit in it. When Agrawal asked for reasons behind the decision, he drew a blank.
It’s not just Bhushan who feels the need to bring about accountability and transparency in the judiciary. Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav says the issue will be discussed when the Judicial Accountability Bill is tabled in Parliament. “When the government tables the bill, all its aspects will be discussed,” Yadav told Tehelka.
CJI YK Sabharwal could not be reached for his comments. Despite conciliatory notes from him there are all indications that the clamour surrounding judicial misdemeanour and the demand for greater accountability will only increase in the days to come.
Dec 30 , 2006
|Burn After Reading
BRIJESH PANDEY and SANJAY DUBEY track the Supreme Court’s lack of urgency in investigating charges of judicial corruption
WHEN SPECIAL CBI judge Rama Jain received an anonymous letter in January 2008, telling her that the provident funds of Class 3 and Class 4 employees of the Ghaziabad court were being siphoned off, she had no idea that she had stumbled onto the biggest judicial scam in the history of independent India.
As she was the designated vigilance officer at the Ghaziabad court, she first conducted an inquiry on her own, which uncovered the involvement of at least three judges and the Central Nazir in the embezzlement of funds. She reported the matter to the Allahabad High Court, which, in turn, ordered a vigilance inquiry. Holding that the report, prima facie, had merit, the court directed her to file an FIR.
Central Nazir Ashutosh Asthana was arrested on the basis of the FIR on April 10, 2008. His interrogation revealed that Asthana was not a solo player. He claimed that he was first introduced to the scam by a district judge himself. What followed was so shocking that even the Ghaziabad police was on the backfoot. Asthana confessed that from the Rs 7 crore embezzled, he had given cash and gifts such as airconditioners, refrigerators, expensive clothes, jewellery and furniture to as many as 36 judges, including about 10 High Court judges and one Supreme Court judge. In a sworn statement before a magistrate, Asthana revealed that this fraud had run from 2001 to 2007 with the active connivance of district judges. Every month, Asthana even paid bribes to various judges, from Rs 25,000 to a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh.
When these excerpts from Asthana’s confession became public, the public image of the judiciary touched a new low. In perhaps the biggest moment of crisis for the Indian judiciary, Asthana, the main accused, has in turn named judges from the Ghaziabad District Court to the Allahabad High Court, right up to the Supreme Court. This was not all.
These revelations stunned the Ghaziabad police. Clearly out of their depth and (justifiably) wary of taking on the powerful judiciary, they requested the Ghaziabad court to hand over the probe to the CBI. In September 2008, the Supreme Court transferred the case to the CBI, but with a rider: Investigate, but give us a sealed report. The PF scam, as it had come to be known, gave the judiciary a wonderful opportunity to redeem itself in the eyes of the people but the case remained shrouded in secrecy. Cynics then said that the whole matter would be given a quiet burial. Eighteen months after the scam became public and four CBI status reports later, the cynics appear to have had the last laugh.
This delay and secrecy in such a highprofile scam raises various uncomfortable questions for the Indian Judiciary. Legal luminaries believe that this is symptomatic of a larger malaise which ails the judiciary. Says jurist Ram Jethmalani, “The reputation of a judge is more important than the actual fact of his honesty. In fact, if a judge has a bad reputation, even if it is undeserved, he should not be appointed because then nobody will have confidence in his judgements,” adding, “When the judiciary expedites cases concerning the executive branch or even most prominent cases, why is such urgency not displayed here, when the matter is extremely serious. Why this delay?”
A VALID QUESTION. Asthana named 36 judges (a list of which is with TEHELKA). Other than the fact that a few have retired, virtually nothing is known about the fate of the judges of the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court judge. Whether or not the apex court is planning to initiate or has initiated, criminal charges against any of the judges — sitting or retired — are questions that only the Supreme Court can answer.
And the apex court should answer, argues former Union law minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan. “I don’t appreciate this sealed-cover business except in very rare cases when making something public might be detrimental to the public interest — mainly if there is an army secret. Whether it is the judiciary or the executive, all officers are appointed on the behalf of the people. It is on the people’s behalf that the judiciary exercises its powers. How can you keep investigations in the PF scam secret? The people have every right to know what is going on.”
VN Khare, former Chief Justice of India, concurs. “These kind of things should not be allowed to linger. This shakes the confidence of the people in the judiciary. If there is an allegation or misconduct, it must be inquired into immediately and strict action should be taken against the erring judges. Why should the reputation of most judges suffer for no fault of theirs?”
The biggest question which arises from this scam is the lack of will on the part of the judiciary to rein in errant judges. Let alone the judges named by Asthana, what about the fate of the three Ghaziabad District Judges named by vigilance officer of the district court Special CBI Judge Rama Jain herself? Legal luminaries say this hesitancy on the part of judges to act against fellow judges involved in wrongdoing clearly illustrates the prevailing mindset of the judiciary.
“I know of a retired Chief Justice of India who is one of the most honest judges I have ever seen. It’s difficult to imagine a more honest person. However, when a responsible minister made complaints to him against a corrupt High Court Judge, he did not grant permission for an investigation because he felt that as the head of the judicial family, it was his job to protect judges, be they corrupt or not,” says Shanti Bhushan. Ram Jethmalani chips in sarcastically, “This is the reason why judges call each other ‘brother judge.’”
IT IS not only cases like the PF scam which taints the image of the judiciary, but also the extreme reluctance on the part of the judiciary to be open and transparent. Reams and reams of paper have gone towards pious exhortations by the judiciary asking the government to refrain from corruption and work in an efficient manner. But sadly, no judge has held forth at length on the need for the judiciary to refrain from corruption. Even attempts to exercise the Right to Information with respect to the office of the CJI came a cropper as the CJI’s office was always declared out of bounds. It took a historic verdict by the Delhi High Court to declare that the office of the CJI was not immune from accountability and outside the purview of the RTI Act. Senior lawyers and retired chief justices feel that if the judiciary is not transparent or accountable, it only means that they are trying to hide something. Justice Khare feels, “Judges are more accountable than other persons because they hold a very high post. The very existence of the judiciary is based on the faith of the common man in it. If that faith is not there, how can the judiciary function?”
What incenses them is the behaviour of the government with regard to the Judges’ Assets Declaration Bill which the government tried to introduce in 2009. The opposition erupted in protest and forced the government to defer the bill. Jethmalani terms the government’s approach to this bill as a “conspiracy of corruption”. “The government is scared to take on the judiciary. It’s clear that the executive wants to cosy up to the judiciary.” Agrees retired CJI V N Khare, “Why should there be any hesitancy to declare assets at all on the part of judiciary? The whole episode is beyond me.” In a recent development, the Supreme Court has reiterated before the Delhi High Court that the CJI’s office is outside the purview of the RTI Act.
Another assault on the public image of the judiciary is the Dinakaran episode. Currently, judges are appointed to the Supreme Court by the Supreme Court Collegium, a group of judges chaired by the Chief Justice of India. When Chief Justice Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court was elevated to the Supreme Court, the state Bar and legal luminaries rose up in protest because the Collegium appeared to have dismissed, or, at least, not have considered the serious allegations of corruption against him. According to Senior Advocate Soli Sorabjee, “The Dinakaran episode shows that the Collegium is not working satisfactorily. You must have a national commission for judges which should be made up of judges, eminent jurists and senior government officials. This council should have the power to get independent information and evaluate it.” Shanti Bhushan feels that as judges are extremely busy with hearing cases, there should be a full-time commission whose sole function is to pick judges for the High Court and the Supreme Court and feels that the commission should also have its own bureau of investigation. They should not be dependent on either the local police, who might be afraid to investigate judges, or on an overburdened CBI.
But all this is very hard to achieve. Jurists feel that the judges of the higher courts have converted themselves into a union of sorts and are trying to protect each other. “Their approach is to sweep every allegation under the carpet. Don’t allow the public to know about it. Let the public believe that our judiciary is very honest. But this has been counterproductive. It has given a shield of total immunity to the judges and they think they can get away with anything. This has led to an increase in corruption in the judiciary,” states Shanti Bhushan. Time and again, opportunities have arisen for the judiciary to reinvent itself in a new avatar. And time after time, it has failed. Caesar’s wife, they say, should be above suspicion. Whatever the cost it might take to ensure it.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 41, Dated October 17, 2009
Judicial corruption is a bull few in India are willing to attach their names to. There are whispers of this or that sitting judge making piles or cash; of sons, daughters and other near and dear ones acting as “brokers” for cases, deals, etc, but none of those allegations see the light of day.
Not because the media is a willing accomplice but because of the sword of “contempt of court” hanging over us.
For long, truth was not, repeat not, a defence in the case of contempt. Although that is now no longer the case, judicial corruption still isn’t headline news like corruption in other spheres of Indian life. The case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran is one of the rare exceptions and that too only in sections of the media.
In September 2009, the Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, in an interview to Shoma Chaudhury of Tehelkamagazine, said “half of the last 16 chief justices were corrupt”. The comment invited the apex court’s contempt. Now, Bhushan’s father, the noted jurist Shanti Bhushan has joined issue.
In his application before the Supreme Court praying for his impleadment as respondent No.3 in the case of the Amicus Curiae vs Prashant Bhushan, Bhushan senior repeats his son’s charge that eight out of the last 16 CJs were corrupt, even going so far as to deliver the names of the corrupt in a sealed cover.
“In the applicant’s opinion, eight [of the last 16 chief justices] were definitely corrupt, six were definitely honest and about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt.”
Below is the full text of Shanti Bhushan’s application, published in the public interest.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India &
His companion justices of the Supreme Court of India
The humble application of the Petitioners above named.
Most respectfully showeth:
1. That the applicant is filing the present application for his impleadment as Respondent No. 3 in the aforementioned contempt petition as the applicant is making a categorical statement in the present application that eight of the last sixteen Chief Justices of India were definitely corrupt and also providing the names of those eight definitely corrupt Chief Justices in a sealed cover as an annexure along with the present application.
2. The applicant is a practicing advocate who was enrolled on 8 July 1948. He has appeared in each and every High Court in the country. He is well acquainted with the manner in which the Indian judiciary has been functioning and how its character has been changing over the years.
3. That the applicant has been a part of the campaign for judicial accountability since its inception in the year 1990.
4. That there was a time when it was almost impossible even to think that a judge of a High court or the Supreme Court could be corrupt. Things have changed drastically during the last 2 or 3 decades during which corruption has been growing in the Indian judiciary. So much so that even a sitting Chief Justice of India had to openly admit that 20% of the judges could be corrupt. Very recently in March 2010 a sitting Chief Justice of a high court openly made a statement. The statement of the sitting chief justice was published by the Times of India in its issue of 6th march 2010 with the headlines, “In our judiciary, anybody can be bought, says Gujarat chief justice”. A copy of the news paper report is being annexed hereto as Annexure A.
5. That the applicant believes that the reported statement may not be correctly reflecting the perception of the Gujarat Chief Justice, since he should be knowing as the applicant does that there are and have always been plenty of totally honest judges, but they are also becoming the victim of this public perception since no institution of governance in the country is taking any effective steps about dealing with corruption in the judiciary.
6. That India became a republic in 1950, when the people became sovereign. They got the right to constitute their institutions, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, to serve them, who would be accountable to them.
7. That before 1950, corruption was almost non existent in the High Courts. The federal court had in 1949 got Justice Shiv Prasad Sinha removed from the Allahabad High Court, merely on the finding that he had passed 2 judicial orders on extra judicial considerations.
8. That it however appears that thereafter the judiciary has adopted the policy of sweeping all allegations of judicial corruption under the carpet in the belief that such allegations might tarnish the image of the judiciary. It does not realize that this policy has played a big role in increasing judicial corruption.
9. That the Constitution prescribed removal by impeachment as the only way of removing judges who commit misconduct since it was believed at the time of the framing of the Constitution that misconduct by judges of the higher judiciary would be very rare. However those expectations have been belied as is apparent from the surfacing of a series of judicial scandals in the recent past. The case of Justice V. Ramaswami and subsequent attempts to impeach other judges have shown that this is an impractical and difficult process to deal with corrupt judges. The practical effect of this has been to instill a feeling of impunity among judges who feel that they cannot be touched even if they misconduct.
10. That corruption by judges is a cognizable offence. The Code of Criminal Procedure requires that whenever an FIR is filed with respect to a cognizable offence, it is the statutory duty of the police to investigate the offence. The police has to collect evidence against the accused and charge-sheet him in a competent court. He would then be tried and punished by being sent to jail. The Supreme Court has however by violating this statutory provision in the CrPC given a direction in its Constitution bench judgement in theVeeraswamy case of 1991 that no FIR would be registered against any judge without the permission of the Chief Justice of India. In not a single case has any such permission ever been granted for the registration of an FIR against any judge after that judgement.
11. That the result of this direction has been that a total immunity has been given to corrupt judges against their prosecution. No wonder that judicial corruption has increased by leaps and bounds.
12. That an honest judiciary enjoying public confidence is an imperative for the functioning of a democracy, and it is the duty of every right thinking person to strive to achieve this end.
13. That unless the level of corruption in the judiciary is exposed and brought in the public domain, the institutions of governance cannot be activated to take effective measures to eliminate this evil.
14. That it is the common perception that whenever such efforts are made by anyone, the judiciary tries to target him by the use of the power of contempt. It is the reputation of the judge which is his shield against any malicious and false allegations against him. He doesn’t need the power of contempt to protect his reputation and credibility.
15. That the applicant strongly believes that a responsible citizen should be prepared to undergo any amount of suffering in the pursuit of the noble cause of fighting for a clean judiciary.
16. That there are two statements of Respondent no. 1 (Prashant Bhushan) published in Tehelka by Respondent no. 2 which are alleged to constitute contempt of court. In the 1st statement, Respondent no. 1 has expressed that in his view, out of the last 16 or 17 chief justices of India, half have been corrupt.
17. The applicant states that in his view too this statement is absolutely correct. At the time of the publication of this report in Tehelka, the last 16 Chief Justices of India were the following: 1. Justice Ranganath Mishra,
2. Justice K.N. Singh,
3. Justice M.H. Kania,
4. Justice L.M. Sharma,
5. Justice M.N. Venkatchalliah,
6. Justice A.M. Ahmadi,
7. Justice J.S. Verma,
8. Justice M.M. Punchhi,
9. Justice A.S. Anand,
10. Justice S.P. Bharucha,
11. Justice B.N. Kripal,
12. Justice G.B. Patnaik,
13. Justice Rajendra Babu,
14. Justice R. C. Lahoti,
15. Justice V.N. Khare,
16. Justice Y.K SabharwalOut of these, in the applicant’s opinion, eight were definitely corrupt, six were definitely honest and about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt. The signed lists identifying these eight, six and two Chief Justices of India are being enclosed in a sealed cover which is being annexed here to as Annexure B.
18. That in fact two former chief justices of India had personally told the applicant while they were in office that their immediate predecessor and immediate successor were corrupt judges. The names of these four Chief Justices of India are included in the list of the 8 corrupt Chief Justices of India.
19. That since the applicant is publicly stating that out of the last sixteen Chief Justices of India, eight of them were definitely corrupt, the applicant also needs to be added as a respondent to this contempt petition so that he is also suitably punished for this contempt. The applicant would consider it a great honour to spend time in jail for making an effort to get for the people of India an honest and clean judiciary.
20. That the applicant also submits that since the questions arising in this case affects the judiciary as a whole, the petition needs to be decided by the entire court and not merely by three judges handpicked by a Chief Justice.
In view of the above, it is most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:
1. allow the present application and implead the Applicant as a contemnor in the aforementioned contempt petition as Respondent no. 3; and
2. pass any other or further order/s as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.
Photograph: courtesy Shailendra Pandey/ Tehelka
Full coverage: The strange case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran
JEEMON JACOB & VK SHASHIKUMAR scoop documents to establish property amassed by former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan’s son-in-law, PV Sreenijan, a practising lawyer who recently resigned from the Kerala Congress
WHEN KG Balakrishnan was appointed Chief Justice of India in 2007, it was a great moment for a man of humble origins. But VR Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court and national icon, now says, “I used to say that an era had begun when KG Balakrishnan became the first Dalit Chief Justice. Now, I don’t feel that way.”
Post retirement, Balakrishnan became head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in June last year. Ever since, a rising crescendo of allegations of corruption have been heard, fuelled by the fact that his younger brother KG Bhaskaran and his two daughters and sons-in-law all acquired vast properties during his tenure as Chief Justice.
TEHELKA has accessed documents that show that between 2007 and 2010, son-in-law Puliyanaveettil Vasu Sreenijan purchased property worth Rs. 1.85 crore. The current real estate value of these properties is in excess of Rs. 25 crore.
This is a truly amazing story of wealth creation by a man who, while contesting elections from Kerala’s reserved Njarackkal Assembly constituency as a Congress candidate in 2006, had declared a bank balance of Rs. 25,000 apart from 24 g of gold.
Sreenijan is married zto Balakrishnan’s elder daughter KB Sony, whom he met in college. He traces his background to a humble and hard-working family: his father was a factory worker in Premier Tyres, Kalamassery, and a Congress party worker. His classmates remember him as an introvert who had a muted, almost latent, ambition to become a powerful politician. From campus politics he moved to the Youth Congress and took active part in its programmes and activities.
Sreenijan became a practising lawyer in the Kerala High Court. When Balakrishnan started his three-year tenure as Chief Justice, Sreenijan started making huge investments in real estate and tourism. This sudden acquisition of wealth is currently being probed by the vigilance department after a probe was ordered by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan.
TEHELKA repeatedly tried to establish contact with Sreenijan for his version via SMS and phone, but all calls went unanswered.
After his marriage with Sony, Sreenijan’s political career also leapfrogged. He was appointed state vice-president of the Youth Congress. Though Congress leaders like MA Kuttappan (also a former minister) challenged Sreenijan’s rise, such protests were short-lived. He lost the 2006 elections but his wife purchased a flat and car parking space in Travancore Residency Towers for Rs. 6 lakh in 2007.
WITHIN A month, Sony again purchased another flat in Mather Square. The cost of the flat mentioned in the title deed is only Rs. 1.49 lakh, but the market price of flats in the vicinity was about Rs. 66 lakh at that time.
Today, Kerala Youth Congress leaders who were angry about Sreenijan’s political rise are gunning for him. “We demand a CBI inquiry to find out how Sreenijan acquired so much property and assets within the last three years,” said M Liju, former Youth Congress state president. On 5 January, Sreenijan tendered his resignation as Youth Congress vice-president.
In November 2008, Sreenijan purchased a river-front property of 277.52 cents in Kadukutti village in Thrissur district where he is now reportedly constructing a resort. According to the title deed, he purchased the land from Mohammed Iqbal Mather for Rs. 14 lakh. Villagers who prefer to remain anonymous say the market price was Rs. 1 lakh per cent. If that is the case he has allegedly shelled out Rs. 2.77 crore. And building the resort could put him back by more than Rs. 10 crore.
In 2009, Sreenijan purchased another property on Deshabhimani Road in Ernakulam for Rs. 30 lakh. Later, a property of 3.5 cents of land was purchased in his mother’s name (Sreemathy Vasu) adjacent to his plot.
But it is not only Sreenijan who became rich during Balakrishnan’s tenure as CJI. The second son-in-law, advocate MJ Benny, too, became wealthier after his marriage to Rani, Balakrishnan’s younger daughter.
Born to a working-class Christian couple in Nettur, Ernakulam, Benny married Rani in 2006. Benny and Rani, both lawyers, fell in love in the court.
Benny’s assets piled up in a manner similar to Sreenijan’s. Between 19 March 2008 and 26 March 2010, he purchased 98.5 cents of land through five title deeds for Rs.81.5 lakh. This is prime land along the National Highway in Marad, Ernakulam district. A cursory comparison of land rates during this period shows that the property was undervalued.
When Benny purchased the property it was around Rs. 4 lakh per cent and at current rates would be Rs. 10 lakh per cent. Yet Benny showed his yearly income as Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 5.5 lakh during the assessment years 2008-09 and 2009-10. Just five land deals made Benny a millionaire in two years.
Rani also embarked on an investment spree, purchasing 10.5 acres in Athirampuzha with her relatives, including Abhilash T Chandran in 2007. Chandran is the son of Thangappan, one of Balakrishnan’s six brothers.
Then there’s KG Bhaskaran, younger brother of the former CJI, who is in the spotlight for possessing property beyond his known sources of income. A senior government pleader practising in the Kerala High Court, Bhaskaran reportedly purchased 50 acres of land in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. In the light of allegations of having illegally amassed property he was asked to go on leave from 4 January by Kerala’s Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad. Bhaskaran, a former member of the CPM, contested Assembly elections as a party candidate from Vaikom in 1977.
Bhaskaran was a regular visitor to the Supreme Court during his elder brother’s tenure as the CJI. He is also reportedly close to Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran (currently Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court and former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court) against whom serious allegations have been levelled of land grab in Tamil Nadu.
No wonder, the Kerala Vigilance Department is now probing all the assets acquired by Balakrishnan’s family. Especially as the patriarch has not faded into the sunset and is now heading a body tasked with bringing justice to those whose human rights have been violated.
In a decision termed “rarest of rare” by a city court, a trial court judge found a public prosector on the wrong side of the law.
Indicting the prosecutor for deliberately botching up examination of witnesses in a case of abduction for ransom, Additional Sessions Judge Pratap S Malik has passed strictures against the state’s counsel and sent the copy of his order to the prosecution branch for necessary action.
The judge held that there was a deliberate attempt by the prosecutor to create situations favourable for the three accused, found guilty of abducting one Sanjay Khan for ransom in 2004. Khan had later committed suicide to escape further assault and the court, finding ample evidence on record, had awarded life imprisonment to the trio on Saturday.
The prosecutor had refrained from putting important questions to police officials and other witnesses that could help the prosecution nail the accused in a more convincing manner, the court observed.
PTI | 01:04 AM,Apr 08,2011
Thane, Apr 7 (PTI) An assistant Public Prosecutor attached to the Kalyan court was trapped by Thane unit of Anti Corruption Bureau while allegedly accepting bribe in the court premises this evening. ACB officials said that one Tuna Bharati, a resident of Malad, had filed case of dowry harassment against husband and in-laws of his late sister, Bhavana. Assistant Public Prosecutor, Chayya Bhadkamkar allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 and accepted the first instalment of Rs 3,500, for arguing the case effectively, ACB said. She was trapped today while taking the balance amount, it said.
JUDGES IN PROVIDENT FUND SCAM ?
NEW DELHI: Faced with accusations having the potential to unhinge the traditional public perception of the judiciary’s clean image, the SC on Monday decided to examine the possible mode of probe into the Rs 23 crore illegal PF withdrawal scam allegedly involving 23 judges, including some from the HCs and one from the apex court. The difficult question on the mode of probe was posed by a petitioner, who is the chairman of Advocates Welfare Trust and Bar Association of Ghaziabad — the place where the scam took place — even as CJI K G Balakrishnan had shown faith in the integrity of the judges by asking the UP police, which is probing the scam, to send questionnaires to the judges, whose names allegedly figured in the scam. Unwilling to have the judges interrogated by the police at first go, SC had written to the UP police that if the response of those judges to the questionnaire did not satisfy the probe team, then it could send request for personal interrogation. The request for interrogation in person would be considered on merit, the SC had told the police in a communication. Appearing for the Bar, senior advocate Fali S Nariman flanked by senior advocates Anil Divan and M N Krishnamani expressed concern over the scandal and also pointed out the possible dent in the image of the judiciay if an SHO was seen interrogating a judge. Bench comprising CJI Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal appeared undecided about the constitution of a committee as suggested by Nariman, it decided to seek the assistance of solicitor general G E Vahanvati to chart out a possible course to deal with the situation.
To keep the proceedings off the media glare, the bench decided to take up the matter in chamber on July 14, when Vahanvati and other senior advocates would make good their assistance to look for a way out of the problematic situation. The petition said one Ashutosh Asthana, the Central Nazir in the judgeship of Ghaziabad, had allegedly confessed before a magistrate about his role in the PF scam and had allegedly mentioned the names of 23 judges who were beneficiaries of the ill-gotten money.
SOS Appeal to SUPREME COURT of INDIA
DEALS IN COURTS & POLICE STATIONS READ :
ACCUSED Chief Justice of India
PROTECTION OF WITNESSES IN CRIMINAL CASES
· JESSICA LAL MURDER CASE & GUJARATH RIOTS
In the 7 year old jessica lal murder case , all the accussed –
children of rich & mighty have gone scot free , for lack of both
prosecution & witnesses. The culprits have forced the witnesses to
remain silent through the use of muscle & money power. The
investigating police official, from the beginning has done roughshod
work & also have played a role in silencing witnesses. I.O MORE RICHER
NOW? PROMOTIONS? The presiding judge of the court has overlooked many
omissions & commissions by the prosecution and in a hurry closed the
case , acquitting all the accussed. Reward for judge – promotion as
high court judge. In this way, the police-prosecutor-judge were
together ganged up against the victim from the beginning. Also, the
witnesses were afraid of brute muscle power of rowdies & rowdies in
Now, take the gujarath riots case. In the first place riot took place
under the active patronage of gujarath state government machinery.
Naturally the police , prosecutors & judges in gujarath were against
the riot victims & closed one case after another, acquitting the
guilty. However the apex court got transferred riot cases out of
gujarath , under public pressure. However, even the apex court failed
to instill confidence , in the prime witness of best bakery case , the
apex court failed to positively reassure the witness of her safety &
livlihood. As a result , out of fear she became hostile- went on
changing her statements.
In this manner, numerous low profile cases involving commonman are
buried , witnesses silenced by the corrupt nexus of police-prosecutor-
judge. They don’t even draw media attention as they are low profile.
Drastic reforms of criminal justice system in india is needed.
Punishing the hostile witness is not the solution. Accountability of
investigating officers , police , prosecutors & judges is needed.how
come some police officials , public prosecutors & judges are leading
luxurious lifestyles, beyond the scope of their legal income?
Recently in the media there was mention of a C.D of alleged
conversation between samajvadi party M.P mr.amar singh & U.P chief
minister , about influencing a high court judge & fixing a case. This
is the way our judiciary functions in india. Rewards for corrupt
judges – out of turn promotions, post retirement postings , postings
to kith & kin , land allotments , etc.
Accountability of judiciary & investigating agencies is the need of
the day. Let us start with polygraph tests for I.O , POLICE , PUBLIC
PROSECUTOR & JUDGE of jessica lal murder case.
Reproduced from The Times Of India August 16, 2007 page10
We do frame people, says NCB official
Sub-Inspector Tell HC How They Plant Drugs On Innocents
Abhinav Garg / TNN
New Delhi:It’s been suspected by many, but confirmation of the police falsely implicating people by planting drugs on them has now come from the policeman himself who has been accused of planting drugs on two innocent people.
Sub-Inspector Ranbir Singh of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) admitted at the Delhi High Court that testing kits for checking banned drugs wereoften defective. What’s more officers often replaced the recovered substance with lethal drugs in order to implicate them. A shocked court has summoned the NCB director to explain the charge.
Ranbir is himself tainted of this grave abuse of authority. There is an FIR against him for falsely implicating rwo persons under the harsh Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act. He claimed to have recovered 100gm heroin from them which later turned out to be harmless paracetomal powder.
The officer is now seeking to get the FIR quashed and in his defence has claimed that he was not the only one who framed people, several other officers did the same.
The Judge has also summoned the Kamala Market Narcotics Cell in-charge from whose area Singh allegedly picked up the two persons.
The Director and the Cell in-charge will have to explain before the court as to how these two innocents were booked and thrown into jail when two forensic reports clearly stated that the substance in question was paracetomol.
The case in which Singh is involved took place in March last year. Gyanender and Santosh were arrested by him for alleged possesion of heroin. The substance was sent for testing to two CFCL labs-one in Rohini and the other in Chandigarh- and both labs reported back that the powder was’nt heroin but just parecetomal.
After this came to light, the additional sessions judge hearing the case acquited the two men and recommended that an FIR be lodged against Singh as the two undertrials had to languish in jail because of the wanton abuse of authority.
The high court, while hearing a petition filed by Singh seeking quashing of FIR against him found it intriguing that even when the investigating team is equipped with “field testing kit” to test the contraband, they had mistaken paracetomal powder for heroin. Upon which Singh revealed that kits were often defective and that officers also changed the actual recovered substance with banned contraband.
Now it is a known fact that Bhopal Gas Leak Case Verdict was FIXED years before , MATCH FIXED by then MP Government Chief Minister , Indian Prime Minister and most shame fully Chief Justice of India.
Now The Final Verdict is out in Bhopal Gas Tragedy . This kind of Injustice can only happen in banana republics , where rich crooks are protected by authorities & courts. SHAME SHAME to supreme court of India , supreme court of USA & Government of USA , for practicing double standards in enforcement of law & justice.
In India, Favorable treatment is given by police & courts of law for rich crooks where as poor innocents are harassed , tortured by the very same police & judges . In india Some MP , MLAs even take money for asking questions in parliament / legislature , Favourable laws are enacted to legalize crimes of rich crooks for example : Illegal land encroachments by rich crooks. The same MPs , MLAs are not aware about problems of poor public , they don’t even open their mouth for asking questions on welfare of poor , let alone enact laws for welfare of poor. No government law , no decisions of judges , no orders of public servants are sacrosanct . Hereby , e-voice urges the supreme court of india ,
1. To legally prosecute the jurisdictional police who changed the charge sheet , who let out Main criminalAnderson illegally without orders from the court.
2. To legally prosecute the SSP , DC of the district , Then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh & Then Prime Minister of GOI , who fully aided the main accussed , criminal Anderson to escape , to jump law.
3. To legally prosecute Indian Public Servants , who were responsible for withdrawing the case from US Courts of Justice.
4. To legally prosecute Then Chief Justice of India Justice Ahmadi & His bench colleagues , who diluted the case by changing the clause under which Anderson & others were charged.
The Public servants – Mps , MLAs , Judges , IAS / IPS officers , Police take thousands of rupees monthly salary , cars , bungalows , 5-star hotel stay together with 5-star meal complete with alchoholic drinks , 5-star health care at premium hospitals , business class air travel , foreign tours , etc all at tax payer’s expense. After enjoying to the hilt at taxpayer’s expense , these same public servants don’t serve the public , they serve the rich crooks , anti nationals in their greed for more money.
All the while the same poor tax payer suffers without justice . In India more than 50 Crore people are barely surviving on a single piece meal .Let the corrupt public servants eat their 5-star meals by the side of the graves of Bhopal Gas Victims. Atleast this will open the eyes of honest few in public service – police , judiciary & parliament , it is a fond hope. This is an appeal to those honest few in judiciary , police & parliament to catch hold of their corrupt colleagues.
Editorial : COURT JUDGEMENT FIXING IN COURTS OF LAW / POLICE STATIONS / GOVERNMENT OFFICES – SATYAMEVA JAYATE ?
Triumph of Injustice in India
In India legislations , Parliamentary Acts , policy decisions are fixed (example : telecom policy fixing by neera radia & others) , the court judgement are fixed , arrest warrant by courts are fixed (example : CJI. Ahmadi changing the charge against Bhopal gas co & a judge issuing arrest warrants against then president of India kalam & then CJI) , Police fixing cases , torturing innocents , closing cases by B reports , changing track of investigations , governments servants giving false reports & records , etc. In this back drop , commonman won’t get justice in India . Instead if he raises his voice for justice , he is persecuted by the nexus of CRIMINALS – POLICE – JUDGES – PUBLIC SERVANTS.
Even the supreme court of India , is not accepting our offer of service to legally book the criminals nor is it registering our PIL nor the Karnataka police are registering our complaint against public servants.
Our Supreme Court Judges , police & Public Servants , preach virtues in courts of law & other forums , but they don’t practice it themselves.
SATYAMEVA JAYATE ?
Read & Answer :
JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM.
Your’s sincerely ,
The Intelligence Bureau has provided the Centre with a detailed account of the escapade involving three Karnataka High Court judges on November 3 in a resort on the outskirts of Mysore, highly placed sources told The Times of India on Friday.
According to a senior official, “Most of the information sought has not only confirmed the veracity of the incident but the government has crosschecked it with another police agency. Both the reports match.”
The incident was widely reported in the media. What has surprised the Centre is the “dogged refusal” of the Karnataka police to confirm the incident. “Mysore Police Commissioner C. Chandrasekhar first denied that the incident ever took place. Only when a public notice was issued through the high court registrar seeking information on the Mysore scandal, did the facts come out in the open. Public protest helped a lot,” says the source.
What transpired at the resort, says the source, “cannot be expected from anyone in civil society, leave alone persons sworn to upholding the law”. According to him, “The IB report consists of unmentionable facts and also makes it amply clear that the Mysore incident is not the first time such things have happened. Can anyone expect upholders of the law to pick a fight with people who complained to the police when caught in a compromising position?”
In a related development, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice N.K. Jain has written to Chief Justice of India Justice G.B. Pattanaik asking that three judges be transferred. Jain has proposed that Justice N.S. Veerabhadraiah be transferred to the Patna High Court, Justice Chandrasekharaiah to Jammu & Kashmir and Justice V. Gopala Gowda to the Gauhati High Court.
While Jain is understood not to have given any reasons, highly placed sources say the proposal for transfers is linked to the Mysore incident.
However, the source says that now the government is worried about the appropriate “remedial measures”. In such cases, transferring a judge to a remote high court doesn’t always work. He says, “Bar associations and the people of northeastern states were up in arms when some judges of the Punjab and Haryana high courts were transferred there. We expect similar protests if the CJI accepts Justice Jain’s proposal to transfer the three judges of the Karnataka High Court.”
The Bar Council of India on Friday, while expressing its anguish at the Karnataka incident, called for “follow-up action”.
“Unless prompt and appropriate action is taken, it will erode the faith of public in the only institution considered to be the bastion of our fighting faith in democracy,” it said in a statement. The BCI has “lamented” inaction in this case by “the higher judiciary and the government”.
Read more: IB confirms Mysore sex scandal – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/IB-confirms-Mysore-sex-scandal/articleshow/29801662.cms#ixzz1B7PtvFdU
Hyderabad/Warangal, Aug. 25: The Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice, Mr Nisar Ahmad Kakru, on Wednesday suspended five subordinate judges for allegedly indulging in copying during the LLM exams held at Kakatiya University in Warangal district on Tuesday.
Mr Ajitsimha Rao, senior civil judge, Mr Vijayender Reddy, second additional district judge of Ranga Reddy district, Mr M. Kistappa, senior civil judge of Anantapur, Mr Srinivasa Chary, senior civil judge of Baptla and Mr Hanumantha Rao, additional junior civil judge of Warangal were caught red-handed while copying in the first year exams.
The Chief Justice reviewed the situation after obtaining the preliminary report from the university authorities and issued orders suspending them from the service. He also asked the university to send a detailed report on the exam malpractice by the judges.
Meanwhile, the Warangal District Bar Association (WDBA) has demanded registration of cases under the AP Public Examination (Prevention of Malpractices & Unfair Means) Act, 1997, against the errant judges. “It was unbecoming of the judges to indulge in mass copying,” said Mr Ch Sambasiva Raju, vice-president, WDBA. The WDBA office bearers also demanded suspension of Mr Razak Uzama, II Sub-Judge, Warangal and his wife Ms Prema Rajeshwara, secretary, district legal services authority, Warangal, both of who appeared in the LLM exam. Reportedly, it was Mr Razak who encouraged the mass copying. However, he and his wife were spared. Meanwhile, Dr Talapalli Manohar, additional controller of examination, SDLCE, clarified that the flying squad had actually debarred only three judges — Mr M. Kistappa, Mr Vijayender Reddy and Mr Ajitsimha Rao. Sources said the other two judges, Mr Hanumantha Rao and Mr Srinivasa Chary were caught based on visual evidence.
An Indian magistrate who allegedly accepted a bribe to issue arrest warrants against India’s president and senior legal figures has been trapped in a sting operation by a journalist, a report said.
The journalist videotaped magistrate Meghani Nagar, who practices in Ahmedabad, commercial capital of Gujarat state, accepting a bribe of 40,000 rupees (851 dollars) to issue the arrest warrants, the Times of India newspaper said Thursday.
Among those cited in the warrants for criminal breach of trust and for cheating and dishonesty are Indian President Abdul Kalam and Chief Justice V.N. Khare, a senior judge and a well-known …
Indian president arrest warrant probe
India’s Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into how an arrest warrant was issued against the country’s president and its top judges.
A shocked Chief Justice VN Khare asked India’s top police body, the Central Bureau of Investigation, to report its findings in a week.
President Abdul Kalam, two Supreme Court judges – including Chief Justice Khare himself – and the president of India’s bar association were issued with the warrants after a case of fraud was filed against them.
An Indian television journalist has told the court he secretly filmed a magistrate accepting 40,000 rupees ($883) to issue the warrants.
The magistrate apparently had not realised who they were, newspaper reports said on Thursday. He has now been suspended from his duties.
Journalist Vijay Shekhar has handed over to the court videotapes of the incident, which took place in the state of Gujarat.
The court has issued notices to the magistrate and the lawyers who filed the case, asking them for their version of the events, the Press Trust of India reports.
“What is happening in Gujarat? By giving 40,000 rupees you can get a judicial order,” Chief Justice Khare is reported as saying.
“If this is the state of affairs only God knows what will happen to the country,” he added.
Mr Shekhar said he carried out the sting operation to expose corruption in India’s judiciary.
In 2001 India was hit by an arms scandal after a website secretly filmed senior military and defence officials apparently accepting cash from journalists posing as arms dealers.
Lokayukta: DC demanded sex from widow
In the midst of a national outrage over former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore molesting a teenager, the Karnataka Lokayukta on Saturday made a startling revelation that the state government was shielding a top bureaucrat who had demanded sexual favours from a young widow.
Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde disclosed that the official concerned, who was the deputy commissioner of one of the districts when he demanded sex from the widow in return for discharging his duties as public servant, has since been promoted to a senior position.
Justice Hegde, in the course of an interaction with journalists at the Deccan Herald office Saturday afternoon, said the unnamed widow had dared the deputy commissioner and approached the Lokayukta’s office with a complaint against the officer.
On examination of the complaint, the Lokayukta had found sufficient grounds to recommend to the state government the suspension and prosecution of the DC concerned. The recommendation was subsequently considered by the concerned department head as well as the chief secretary and both endorsed it.
But, according to Justice Hegde, no action was initiated against the DC as the same official who had endorsed the recommendation subsequently found no basis for initiating departmental action against him. Instead, the official cleared the DC’s name for promotion in the super-scale. Presently, the official holds a senior position in the government.
The widow, in her late 20s, had approached the DC with a representation to sort out some problems. But she was shocked when the DC demanded sex.
Justice Hegde did not identify the official in question or the complainant. Nor did he offer to name the district where the official was serving as deputy commissioner. But the incident has happened sometime in the course of last three years as Justice Hegde took over as the Lokayukta in mid-2006.
3-year jail term for ‘dirty’ judge
Family court judge Ramrao Gangaram Bhise attempted to get sexual favours from a housewife in 1997
Family court judge Ramrao Gangaram Bhise’s attempts to extract sexual favours, in addition to a bribe, from a housewife, Alka Gaikwad — who had sought an increase in her monthly maintenance allowance from her estranged husband, in 1997 — proved costly to him. Pronouncing him guilty on both counts, the special court hearing anti-corruption bureau (ACB) matters sentenced him to three years rigorous imprisonment and a collective fine of Rs55, 000, on Monday.
According to the FIR in the case registered against Bhise by the ACB, Suryakant Gaikwad had filed for divorce from his wife, Alka, before the Bandra family court. Alka, a housewife, in turn, filed a petition seeking mutual cohabitation with her husband. The then family court judge, Meera Khadakkar, directed the husband to pay her an interim maintenance allowance of Rs750 per month.
Subsequently, in January 1997, Alka filed another application before the same family court (now presided over by Bhise) seeking to increase the monthly maintenance amount to Rs3,500. “On October 27, 1997, Bhise issued an interim order, increasing the maintenance allowance to Rs2,000 to be paid by Suryakan to his estranged wife till the disposal of the case. Immediately after issuing the order, Bhise asked Alka to meet him and gave her his residential telephone number, asking her to call him when the court hours ended. He told her that he would ask her husband to pay her a lump sum of Rs2 lakh in addition to the monthly maintenance, provided she called him up,” the FIR states.
When she called up the judge at 7 pm the same day, Bhise told her that she would have to pay him a sum of Rs2,000 in addition to granting his sexual favours if she wanted an order in her favour. He also directed her to meet him at the Haji Ali bus stop with the bribe amount the following evening.
“Alka approached the ACB, which sought permission from the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court before laying a trap on the first class judicial magistrate (Bhise). The HC while granting the permission designated a court official to bear witness to the events leading to the trap. Alka, under video camera surveillance of ACB sleuths, along with the court official and other women witnesses met Bhise at 8.30 pm at the Haji Ali bus stop. Bhise took hold of Alka’s wrist and when she protested, repeated his demands,” the FIR states.
Alka was then taken to a nearby hotel, Sharda, where the judge accepted the bribe amount. But before he could do anything else, ACB sleuths swooped in and arrested him.
Chief Justice of India G B Pattanaik retires tonight and he doesn’t have much to write home about on the unprecedented drive he launched to enforce judicial accountability.
After the PPSC scam fiasco, reported in The Indian Express today, comes the case of the Rajasthan judge who has been indicted in a sex scandal and yet has escaped action—pending another inquiry.
On December 14, a three-judge committee set up by Pattanaik confirmed the ‘‘involvement’’ of Justice Arun Madan of the Rajasthan High Court in a proposition to a woman doctor to have sex with him in exchange for a judicial favour.
The committee, headed by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice B K Roy, submitted its report to Pattanaik, indicting Madan on a complaint made from Jodhpur by the woman concerned, Sunita Malviya.
But Pattanaik has not announced any action against Madan. When contacted by The Indian Express, Pattanaik confirmed that the committee had indicted Madan and his ‘‘bad reputation’’ in seeking sexual favours in return for judicial ones.
However, Pattanaik said that no action was being taken since the committee had also mentioned allegations of corruption against Madan. And so he had ordered a further inquiry by the same committee into the corruption charges.
When asked what he did with the indictment of Madan in the sex scandal, Pattanaik said, ‘‘That is on hold because I could not have taken piecemeal action against him….I am praying to God that the final report will give some tangible material to take action.’’
Highly placed sources told The Indian Express that when the committee recorded statements last week in Jodhpur of about 30 persons over four days, it also came to know of several allegations of corruption against Madan and another judge of the same high court. The committee put these on record as well.
Pattanaik said that when he summoned Madan to New Delhi last week, he did not raise the sex scandal issue and instead limited himself to saying that he was ordering a further inquiry into corruption allegations.
In effect, Pattanaik has now passed the Rajasthan buck to his successor Justice V N Khare.
The gist of Malviya’s complaint is that Madan made a sexual proposition to her in October through a deputy registrar of the high court, Govind Kalwani, who said that the judge would help her, in turn, get out of a criminal case booked against her.
With this, Pattanaik’s much-touted in-house judicial accountability seems to have hit a wall. The first committee’s report into the PPSC scam exonerated one judge despite evidence and let two others off with a mere slap on the wrist. The third committee is now busy probing the involvement of judges in the Mysore sex scam.
1 Dec 2010 … (2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu & Kash- mir. … This is because of the still existing biases of thecourt judges. … had his chambers “purified” with water from the ‘ganga jal‘ because a …
wapedia.mobi/…/Scheduled_Caste_and_Scheduled_Tribe_(Prevention_of_Atrocities)_Act,_1989 – Cached – Similar
The sheer number of cases pending in the Indian judicial system (26 million at last count) says it all.
One of the most frequently used words in India, corruption signifies a range of things. In 2005, Transparency International and Delhi based Centre for Media Studies, a research firm, undertook the India Corruption Study. The survey covered 14,405 respondents over 20 states and included interviews with service providers and users (of these services). The results, published the same year said Indians pay out around Rs. 21,068 crore as bribes while availing one of 11 public services. While some of the results of the survey were published, many of the details were not. The study, however, remains the most recent and the most comprehensive report on corruption in India. Apart from calculating the extent of corruption, in Rs. crore, it explains the mechanics of it.
Over the week, Mint will present details of the CMS study. On Monday we featured India’s public distribution system. On Tuesday, we did the education system. Today, we look at the judicial system. Reader’s are welcome to send in their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sheer number of cases pending in the Indian judicial system (26 million at last count) says it all. Given that, and the number of judges across various states (per lakh of population), the system is rife with delays and inefficiencies — ideal conditions for middlemen to step in. In the year preceding the survey, 59% of respondents paid bribes to lawyers, 5% to judges, and 30% to court officials.
The judicial system is highly dilatory, expensive, and beyond the reach of the common man. Ordinary citizens find it hard to seek redress, as litigation is expensive and extra money is often required to oil the wheels of the system
2. Misuse of power
There are instances of Metropolitan Magistrates issuing bailable arrest warrants against individuals of whose identitites he has no idea, in return for an inducement.
Some time back, a Metropolitan Magistrate in Ahmedabad issued bailable arrest warrants against the President of India in return for an inducement of Rs. 40,000.
In some cases, judges offer a favour in exchange for personal gain or favours. In Rajasthan, some time back, there were reports of a judge who offered judicial favour in exchange for sexual favours from a litigant. Some of these instances have been reported by the media, but no action has resulted.
Today, under existing rules, any person making any allegation of corruption or other things against a sitting judge can be charged and punished for contempt of court. This is a deterrent against more such instances coming to light.
3. A difficult impeachment process
The Supreme Court of India has ruled that no first information report (FIR) can be registered against a judge, nor, a criminal investigation initiated without prior approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Once appointed, a judge of the High Court or Supreme Court cannot be sacked except by a complicated impeachment process, done by members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the two houses of Indian parliament. Their immunity is reinforced by the fact that the procedure isn’t just cumbersome but also susceptible to political influence. In the 1990s, when the Congress was in power, a motion seeking to impeach Justice V Ramaswami could not be passed by parliament as Congress members of parliament abstained from voting. There have been no other attempts at impeachment in India.
4. Slow and inefficient
Many cases drag on for years. SAn oft cited excuse is the lack of staff, but the judicial process itself is unnecessarily complicated and inefficient, making cases drag on for a long time. Bribes are sometimes ought to davance the judgement or bend it. At last count, some 26 million cases were pending in Indian courts.
Why People Pay Bribes
1. Favourable judgement
Recent media reports have shown that it is possible to secure a favourable judegement in a lower court by bribing the judiciary, although the situation radically improves when it comes to the higher courts.
2. Speeding up judgement
There is a huge backlog of cases in Indian courts which results in delayed judgements. It is quite common for a case to drag on for years. People often have to pay bribes to speed up the process.
3. Other activities
A llot of non case related work also falls under the purview of the judiciary. This includes the issual of affidavits, registrations, etc. People often pay bribes to get this work done by a middleman.
4. Obtaining bail
The judge has a lot of discretion in issuing bail; the guidelines governing this are fairly basic. It is possible to secure bail by influencing the judge in some cases.
5. Manipulating witnesses
As some recent high-profile cases have shown, witnesses are manipulated through money or force into giving favourable testimony.
1. Use of technology
* A review of how court records are handled and the introduction of modern tracking methods can eliminate much of petty corruption existing in lower courts
* Websites and CDs can explain basic law to laymen
* Court files can be computerized
* Video recordings of cout procedings should be maintained
2. Reduce the gap
* Provide alternative methods of dispute redressal to lighten burden on courts
* Increase number of judicial officers and number of fast track courts
* Create a vigilance cell for redressal of public grievances
3. Making the judiciary accountable
* Judges must be subject to judicial review
* Judges must follow a code of conduct
* Bar associations must act against corrupt members
* A public body must keep an eye on the judicial system
* An Indian judicial service must be created
* The proposed National Judicial Commission should have powers to fire judges
* Judges should declare their assets and those of their family
— By Anil Nauriya
A recent case of a Gujarat magistrate who issued arrest warrants against the President of India, the Chief Justice of India, a Supreme Court judge and a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has evoked interest in the media. There has been public concern essentially over the circumstances in which this order was procured and about how the names of the dignitaries concerned were disguised by not mentioning their designations and by seemingly spelling the names in full rather than as they are usually written. The complainant — there is a doubt whether the person in whose name the complaint was filed is real or virtual — simply approached a magistrate and made an apparently fictitious claim of having been cheated or defrauded.
The criminal justice process reached the arrest warrant stage without anyone taking the precaution of finding out whether there was an iota of truth in the complaint. Why did this happen in this particular case? How could such a thing happen under criminal procedure? The Supreme Court is seized with the first question and it is not desirable to comment on it. But the second question can and should be discussed.
A vital point to note about the “ordinary” criminal procedure (as distinguished from so-called special laws like the earlier Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act) is that it is not in fact ordinary. As in the case of the existing Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, applicable in India, criminal procedure in post-colonial societies is modelled on or is an outgrowth of colonial procedure. Many provisions have been mechanically continued.
There are several problem areas in criminal procedure relating to case registration, police powers of arrest in respect of certain offences considered graver than others, magisterial powers to direct investigation and, in given situations, issue warrants of arrest, and, finally, in the investigation itself. These aspects of criminal procedure lend themselves to considerable abuse by the police and the subordinate judiciary.
The Code enables a complaint to be made to a magistrate under Section 190 and certain other provisions in case the police do not register an FIR on their own or after a complaint is made to them. On being so approached, magistrates have a variety of options, superimposed on, and sometimes even apart from the usual classification of offences on the basis of seriousness. But broadly during the pre-trial stage there are two magisterial approaches that may, with some risk of simplification, be called the Red and Green Channels. The first is to insist on some elaborate evidence or material being brought on record by the complainant before setting the law in motion. The second is to simply take the complaint on record, ask the complainant a question or two, and initiate the process by directing the police to investigate and, if necessary, issuing summons or warrants as the case may be. Complaints about cognisable (that is, cases in which the police may arrest without warrant) and non-bailable offences often tend to go through the Green Channel.
The difference in the two approaches is ironical and paradoxical. Thus if a parent finds that a minor daughter has been to enticed into a child marriage, and the police have failed to take action against those who organised it, the complaint would generally have to travel through the Red Channel. A child marriage is not necessarily treated as void in personal law, but those who organise it are liable to some minor punishments. A complainant under Section 190 of the Code read with the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 would have to produce what is known as “pre-summoning” evidence before the magistrate. Long dates might be fixed by the magistrate. Unless other steps are taken, the minor girl might even have produced a child and come of age by the time summons are actually issued to the accused persons.
The Green Channel operates differently. These cases include but are not limited to matters where the police are empowered to make arrests on their own. In a given case, the police may register an FIR and, if empowered, effect arrests on their own initiative.
On the other hand, they may choose not to do so because of political or other pressure. They may also drag their feet for the reason that they are aware of the false and vexatious nature of the complaint. The complainant must then approach the magistrate concerned. At this stage there are few strong safeguards to sieve out fabricated complaints. In fact, if the complaint is fabricated it stands a better chance of receiving Green Channel treatment if it alleges the commission of a serious offence, usually referred to as “cognisable” and “non-bailable.” Odd though it may sometimes seem, in such matters elaborate preliminary evidence is not insisted upon as much as it is in the case of lesser offences.
The magistrates are quicker in such cases to direct police investigation and, as the Gujarat magistrate’s case shows, even go further and issue arrest warrants; the initial burden placed upon the complainant by the magistrate is much lighter in such cases. Even a mere order for investigation means, under some judicial decisions, that the police must now necessarily register an FIR. The registration of an FIR implies, in most such cases, arrest of the persons complained against. Since colonial days, the police have often treated as dead letters provisions like Section 41 of the Code which require “credible information” and “reasonable suspicion” before the police may arrest a person without warrant. Similarly, during investigation the police have traditionally taken little notice of the stipulation in Section 157 of the Code that an arrest is to be made when it is “necessary”; there is little appreciation of the fact that the test of “necessity” is a condition precedent to arrest.
The upshot is that under the existing Code of Criminal Procedure it is easier to obtain, with magisterial aid, arrest of persons in a false case concerning serious-looking offences than to obtain, in a genuine case, even a summons to the wrong-doer in what the law treats as less serious offences. The law offers a Green Channel for the first category and a Red Channel for the second category. There are no “remedies” to this particular malice; much depends upon the human material in the police and in the subordinate judiciary. But three important safeguards may be suggested. First, if it is not a capital case involving murder or rape or a case where there is a chance that the person against whom the charges are made would flee the country, there is no reason why a prior inquiry cannot be made before the criminal process is permitted to reach the stage of arrests or warrants for arrest. Second, if the complaint is not for a capital offence an affidavit ought to be required at an early stage from the complainant affirming the truth of the averments made by him. In the case of capital offences, which may involve greater urgency, such an affidavit may follow later.
Recently the Civil Procedure was amended to require the plaintiff’s affidavit in civil suits. There is greater reason for such affidavits to be required in respect of criminal complaints. The penal law does provide for punishment for filing false complaints. But the suggested affidavit requirement could help discourage false complaints at the threshold. Third, further safeguards are required in cases of cross complaints that is complaints made by more than one side against one another about the same incident or group of incidents. Such situations, often generated by business or political rivalries, are a common source of mischief. Sometimes the police, having registered the initial FIR, do not register the counter complaint, knowing or believing it to be false. At other times the reverse happens. These moves are accompanied with a complex interplay of the political, business and legal process, with unpredictable and ever-changing results. The complaint made by one side could even be suppressed. A cross complaint may be activated. Much depends on who was contacted by whom e.g. Politicians in New Delhi instructing Commissioners of Police, Fascist outfits functioning under a sham civil rights signboard in Ahmedabad. All participate in determining the outcome of a process in which criminal procedure is reduced to naught.
It should be mandatory for a complaining party to disclose, in its own complaint before a magistrate, any prior complaints pending against it that may be connected with the same incident or party. A similar responsibility of disclosure must rest upon the police so that such cross complaints may, where appropriate and necessary, be taken up together in the criminal process. The criminal justice process must insist, to the extent this is attainable, upon truth at each stage rather than truth deferred in a bid to achieve interim and collateral objects.
Finally, closer attention is required at the drafting stage.
When the present Code was being drafted and the then Attorney-General appeared to give his evidence before the Joint Committee on the Draft Bill in October 1971 the following exchange occurred:
Chairman: Mr. Attorney General, you must have been very busy…
Witness: I have not gone into the matter in detail; I had no time.
Chairman: Have you gone through the Questionnaire?
Witness: I have read this Press Communiqué.
Chairman: And the Bill?
(Joint Committee on the Code of Criminal Procedure Bill, 1970, Evidence, Volume II, p. 178).
In the wake of allegations that former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan’s relatives have amassed property worth crores, a long-retired Supreme Court judge on Monday demanded that the Centre initiate a probe against him.
With reports appearing in the local media, former Supreme Court judge (retd) Justice V R Krishna Iyer on Monday led calls for a thorough inquiry into the allegations a day after a local TV news channel made the stunning expose.
“I myself feel sad that I was a judge. I used to say that an era had begun when K G Balakrishnan became the first Dalit chief justice. Now, I don’t feel that way,’’ said the former Supreme Court judge.
He pointed out that there were allegations against Balakrishnan’s daughter, son-in-law and even mother-in-law. “A commission comprising chief justices should probe the assets and bank balances of all of Balakrishnan’s relatives,’’ he said in Kochi.
A leading jurist and former Supreme Court judge, Justice Iyer urged Parliament and the Prime Minister to appoint a high-powered commission to inquire into the issue. “The President must require politely Balakrishnan to resign,” Justice Iyer said of Justice Balakrishnan who is the National Human Rights Commission Chairman.
As reported, Justice Balakrishnan’s son-in-law P V Sreenijin, who is a member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, had contested the 2006 Assembly election from the Narakkal reserved constituency in Ernakulam district.
At that time, while filing his nomination papers, Sreenijin had declared he possessed no landed property and that his wife had only gold worth Rs 4.38 lakh and a little over Rs 1 lakh in cash.
Three years later, Sreenijin and his wife K B Sony, both lawyers, declared Rs 35 lakh while filing their income tax returns. However, according to reports now, the couple, who have not declared any sources of income other than their legal profession, own property worth crores and are constructing a river-front resort in Thrissur.
Several of these properties are worth many times more than the amounts for which they have been registered. The CPM’s youth wing, the DYFI, has claimed that whatever information had come out was only the tip of the ice-berg.
“We have more evidence to prove that the former CJI’s relatives have property in Dubai, Bangalore and Tamil Nadu. The needle of suspicion naturally points to Justice Balakrishnan himself,’’ said DYFI state president and MP M B Rajesh.
Sreenijin has refused to answer questions from mediapersons saying he will react later. Justice Balakrishnan was also recently embroiled in a controversy over a letter written by a Madras High Court judge to him complaining against former Telecom minister A Raja having tried to influence him over phone.
For the record, Delhi-based journalist M Furquan in June this year petitioned Vice-President Hamid Ansari for a CBI investigation against Balakrishnan and his family “for finding out how much financial assets they have (allegedly) accumulated since he took over as the CJI’’.
Ansari had passed on the complaint to the Union Home Ministry which in turn handed it over to the CBI. The complaint is reported to be with the CBI Kochi unit now.
YOU TOO, YOUR HONOUR?
The retired judge picked to probe the Karnataka land scams has a ‘tsunami of scandals’ in his past, reports IMRAN KHAN
SOME THINGS just seem to get worse. Under pressure to quit for alleged corruption in land allotment, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa finally constituted a one-man commission to probe alleged land scams since 1995. Yeddyurappa chose retired Karnataka High Court judge, Justice B Padmaraj. The opposition, which was gunning for the chief minister, appeared satisfied and stopped its campaign.
But, Justice Padmaraj, it appears, has something in his past that ought to have disqualified him from heading the probe. In 2007, a Joint Legislature Committee (JLC) indicted Justice Padmaraj and 84 other HC and Supreme Court judges for owning plots in the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Co-operative Society. According to the JLC, the society had created ‘an all India record for being the mother of all illegalities’ and was formed by ‘unleashing a tsunami of scandals’.
Constituted in June 2006, the JLC was headed by AT Ramaswamy and had 14 MLAs and six MLCs. It was entrusted with the objective of investigating land encroachments in Bengaluru. The AT Ramaswamy report found that the society had violated the Karnataka Land Reforms Act by acquiring 36 acres of private agricultural land in Bengaluru North Taluk without prior permission of the government.
The Land Reforms Act stipulates that any such acquired land shall be forfeited after a summary inquiry by the assistant commissioner concerned. The JLC also found that the residential layout did not seek approval from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) — the planning authority under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. Further, the report notes that “the House Building Co-operative Society then submitted its layout to the City Municipal Council, Yelahanka, which is not the planning authority for the society land.
The JLC also found that the layout violated norms for the allocation of civic amenities and parks. Town planning norms mandate 25 percent for civic amenities, while the original layout plan envisage only 5 percent. The JLC also questioned the appropriateness of both sitting and retired judges being allotted sites. It wrote: “The society has allotted sites to persons who are ineligible for allotment of sites as judicial employees. Most noteworthy of such ineligible persons are the HC judges, many of whom have been allotted sites.”
Shocked at the extent of corruption perpetuated by the judiciary, the JLC noted: “The society, which should have been a model to others, has become the leading lawbreaker without fear or care of law, property or public interest.” This is a strong indictment. So how did Yeddy pick Padmaraj?
KOCHI: There is no respite for Justice K G Balakrishnan, former CJI and present NHRC Chairman, from controversies.
Close on the heels of the A Raja episode, he has landed in trouble with allegations erupting over his assets. A CBI inquiry into the amassment of wealth by him is now on the cards. The CBI is awaiting a formal nod from the Registrar-General of the Supreme Court, which is a legal requirement, to launch a probe into his mysterious assets.
CBI sources have confirmed the receipt of a complaint against Balakrishnan by a Delhi-based journalist.
The journalist, in his complaint filed before the Vice-President’s office, alleged that the former CJI had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The Vice- President’s office forwarded the complaint to the Union Home Ministry which in turn forwarded it to the CBI.
“We have received the complaint but no investigation has been launched. It will be launched only after getting an official nod. The Supreme Court Registrar-General is the competent authority to give sanction for the probe,” said sources in the Kerala unit of the CBI.
But, it is reliably learnt that a quick verification of assets of Justice Balakrishnan’s daughter K B Sony and her husband P V Sreenijin indicated that everything was not hunky-dory. Sreenijin, a KPCC member, has allegedly amassed wealth to the tune of several crores in the past four years.
Sreenijin, who had declared only assets worth Rs 25,000 in the affidavit filed in the 2006 Assembly polls (he was the Congress candidate from Njarackal,) now owns several prime properties, including a riverside plot of 2.5 acres at Annamanada in Thrissur.
He and his wife Sony have also acquired a flat in the city, a plum office space near the High Court and 25 cents of land at Elamakkara (in the suburbs of Kochi) where the construction of a bungalow is in progress. Both Sreenijin and Sony are practising advocates and don’t have any other known sources of income.
The state unit of the DYFI has also called for a detailed inquiry into the allegations and demanded the resignation of Justice Balakrishnan as NHRC chief.
The fresh controversy will land Justice Balakrishnan in a precarious position as he has already been under a cloud following Supreme Court Judge H L Gokhale’s revelation regarding former Telecom Minister A Raja’s bid to influence a Chennai High Court judge.
In a raid on Meerut Jail led by the DIG of Agra Jail to recover and seize cell phones and other unauthorised and prohibited items, there was a fight between the jail police and inmates of the high-security prison. It left six police officials and four inmates injured.
The raiding DIG said, “It could not have happened without the connivance of jail officials. We had special instructions from the home department as Meerut Jail is known for its lawlessness. But we were shocked when a thou-sand-strong mob attacked us with sticks and stones. We were trapped and could only escape after we charged towards the gate.”
The prisoners snatched away all the mobile phones and contra-band recovered during the check that was ordered at the instance of the State Government. The DIG has accused the superintendent of Meerut Jail of “inciting the jail inmates to attack us so that we could not find prohibited articles in the jail”.
On the other hand, the jail superintendent has accused the DIG of demanding illegal gratification. Some staff has been suspended. The other form of corruption reported from the Meerut Jail included unauthorised sale of items at exorbitant prices. Cigarettes were being sold for Rs 20 per stick. It cost Rs 500 for a meal of choice. A local call could be made for Rs 20, an STD call cost Rs 100. The Meerut Jail, built to house 700 inmates, now has 1,850 prisoners.
A former Uttar Pradesh Minister, serving his sentence in Lucknow Jail for the murder of his mistress Madhumita Shukla, freely hosted a wedding anniversary bash for a co-accused in the murder case inside the jail premises. A sitting Minister when asked replied, “No one is born a criminal and the Samajwadi Party believes in transformation of criminals. You can’t stop anyone from celebrating an occasion concerning him, his family or near and dear ones – within the premises of the jail. As per my knowledge, there was no violation of the jail manual.”
In 2004, three accused involved in the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh escaped scandalously from the Burail Jail in Chandigarh. Inspection of the jail showed that the high profile prisoners were not only leading a luxurious life, but they had also enclosed their cells in a way that their activities inside could not be kept under vigil. Once the cell was turned into a virtual fortress, the prisoners dug a tunnel to escape.
The escape of terrorists involved in one of the most high-profile assassinations could not have materialised simply through a nexus between corrupt jail staffers and the prisoners. Vast sums of money as well as a pattern of internal and external intimidation was necessary to create the conditions for the eventual breakout and a significant network of support was essential to make sure that the fugitives could evade the police system once they were out.
The escape of Phoolan Devi’s killers from high security Tihar Jail and other similar escapes of prisoners highlight the ineptitude and complicity of jail staff. Tihar Jail is actually a complex of seven prisons, having a capacity of 4,000 prisoners. But actually there are more than 12,000 prisoners lodged there. Regrettably, there is no fixed rule as to how many prisoners can be lodged in a particular jail.
The following is the existing jail system. There are two categories of jails – district jails normally built for 400 prisoners each and central jails for 750 each. The jail staff members are not from the police and have their own distinct hierarchy. There are different categories of under-trial prisoners depending upon their education and social status. Courts have directed jails to do away with the colonial, vintage classification of under-trial prisoners into Class I, II and III, based on their socio-economic status, but Government continues to stick to the old practice.
Selected prisoners are used for the internal management of jails – to make up for manpower shortage – as well as administrative work. The convict- supervisors become a link between the prisoners and jail officials. They are given an incentive for their work. Any wrong placement or selection can lead to the escape of prisoners or other crimes going unchecked inside the jails.
The Indira Gandhi Government had set up a high-powered panel in 1980 to propose prison reforms. The apparent cause was Mrs Gandhi’s first-hand experience of the conditions in Tihar where she was lodged in 1978. Mrs Gandhi appointed the Justice AN Mulla Committee to review the national jail system even though jail is a State Government subject.
The Mulla Committee, 1983, recommended that the Constitution be amended to shift the subject of prisons from the State List to the Concurrent List. That never happened. The Centre at present has no say in the matter of jails except when they are in Union Territories where, again, jails are far from being models. The result is that jails continue to be governed by an outdated law enacted by the British in 1894. The position is that the jail conditions vary greatly from one State to another or even from prison to prison. There is no national policy on prisons.
A sensible recommendation of the Mulla Committee was to classify prisons into special security, maximum, medium and minimum security prisons. Such a classification can serve as a safeguard against jailbreaks and jail riots.
Much before sting operations became a norm with the media, a hard-hitting report had shown that in the Tihar Jail, officials mixed with notorious inmates like Charles Sobraj who ran an extensive drug and liquor racket with impunity. This led to a secret visit of the then Home Minister Giani Zail Singh to Tihar Jail. He was stunned to see a drunken prisoner offering him a bottle of liquor. A mortified Government finally suspended two jail officials.
Criminalisation of politics has produced a strange phenomenon. Criminals have contested elections from behind the bars and some of them have won. Given such topsy-turvy world of politics, prison officials are often either unmindful of the crimes being committed regularly inside the prisons, or sometimes they are the ones to provide prisoners with mobile phones, drugs and food. These jail staffers also organise kavi sammelans and mushairas and help prisoners run extortion rackets and criminal gangs from inside the jails. A prison for some prisoners has become a home away from home.
The next issue is that of under-trials. According to the statistics compiled by the Custodial Justice Cell of the National Human Rights Commission, 225,817 of 304,893 or 74.06 per cent of the total prison population in the country comprises those awaiting trial. The total jail capacity in India is 232,412 prisoners, which makes the total prison population 31 per cent higher than capacity, clearly emphasising the urgent need for a speedier justice mechanism.
Only when politicians go to jail do they talk about reforming the jail system. They forget the issue the moment they are out. We must be clear as to what kind of confinement or jail system we want. The time to make a beginning is now before things get worse. There must be a Central law to be followed as a model by all States.
Pune: A highly confidential inquiry report by the Maharashtra prison department has revealed that several key undertrials, including Mohammad Dossa, underworld don-turned-politician Arun Gawli and DK Rao (the right-hand man of fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan), among others, freely availed of “leave” out of the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai over the last three years.
The jail authorities neither reported the leave granted to these high-profile undertrials to senior prison authorities, nor did they raise objections to the leave applications in court.
A senior prison officer told DNA that the inquiry report has been sent to the state home department for action as it has exposed corrupt practices at the jail.
Ironically, officials of the state prison department have none other than 26/11 accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir aka Kasab to thank for the revelation of this nexus between the prison authorities and the undertrials.
Sources told DNA that when the undertrials, including Rao and Gawli, were shifted to Taloja in Navi Mumbai, they started demanding similar treatment at the new jail premises. They were shifted to Taloja so that maximum protection could be provided to Kasab, who was to be lodged at the Arthur Road jail.
“The undertrials continued to demand leave at Taloja as they had at Arthur Road,” said an official, adding that the authorities at Taloja then reported the matter to senior prison authorities in Pune and Mumbai.
Former superintendent of Arthur Road jail Swati Sathe, who is currently posted in Nashik, said she was unaware of any inquiry.
It was during Sathe’s tenure that the “influential undertrials” availed of leave.
The inquiry revealed that leave extended from a few hours to even a couple of days.
It also found that this practice had been going on at the jail for nearly three years.
The authorities did not deny leave to around 45 gangsters, most of whom are booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999. One undertrial gangster was found to have “gone on leave” on 35 occasions, the report said.
The Maharashtra Prisons Manual has no provision to grant leave to undertrials, as is allowed in the case of convicts lodged in jails. It is customary for an undertrial to obtain permission from a court in order to avail leave.
The inquiry revealed that none of the 45 undertrials sent their applications via the jail officials. They were directly sent to court.
Significantly, the authorities at Arthur Road jail failed to appeal against this.
The jail authorities also failed to report the leave taken by the under-trials to the state government, which generally alerts the police machinery to keep a close watch on the activities of the suspects.
State prisons chief, inspector-general of police Uddhav Kamble confirmed to DNA the commissioning of the inquiry, but refused to elaborate. A senior official of the prison department confirmed the developments as well.
Another senior jail official explained that leave is only granted to an under-trial by the court for emergency situations, like the demise or serious health condition of the next-of-kin, besides attending the marriage of his/her children.
Leave can also be availed for emergency medical treatment at the private hospitals, but only under the supervision of the jail authorities. However the under-trials went on leave to attend marriages and death of distant relatives, other minor health issues of family members and even their companions.
Kamble sought a detailed record from the deputy inspector general of police (prisons), Mumbai, of all the leave awarded by the courts. The DIG, Mumbai conducted an inquiry and found the involvement of Arthur Road Jail officials. Another inquiry was commissioned to verify the findings of the DIG’s report.
In Pune, 22 inmates have been missing from the Yerawada Central Prison after they were granted parole or furlough in the past 30 years.
Mumbai-based gangster Vijay Thopte who was accused in the murder of union leader Datta Samant and Arun Gawli gang member Eknath Arjun Mohite of Bhosari are among those missing from the Yerawada jail. While Thopte has been missing after he was granted parole a year ago, Mohite, who has several cases registered against him with the Pune city and rural police units, has been missing for more than a year now.
Might Not Have Recommended Parole For Manu: Pilot
Disapproving the grant of parole to Jessica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma, who also happens to be the son of an influential Haryana Congress leader, Congress leader Sachin Pilot has said that he might not have recommended parole to the lifer had he been the chief minister of Delhi.
“I personally believe that perhaps more diligence should have been made before issuing these orders. The fact that he has already gone back (to jail) does not make a difference now,” Pilot said while participating in a TV programme.
Asked whether it was a mistake for the Delhi government to have recommended parole for Sharma, Pilot said, “Well I am not Delhi chief minister. From whatever I know of the case, if I was the chief minister I would probably not have given the parole”.
Sharma was granted parole after chief minister Sheila Dikshit recommended it. Sharma, who had applied for the parole on the ground of performing religious rites for his grandmother (who died in 2008), attending to his ailing — later modified to ‘ageing’ — mother, and business matters, in Chandigarh.
Significantly, the Delhi Police has gone on record to say that it had opposed the grant of parole. It has been reported that the Delhi government has so far received 132 parole applications this year out of which as many as 88 are still pending, 33 were rejected and 11 applicants were granted parole.
Dikshit had so far been under fire for justifying her decision, saying that it was within the “legal purview” only from the opposition BJP and legal luminaries, who had so far been protesting that it was a blatant case of partisanship. Not only was Manu Sharma granted parole on flimsy grounds, and his parole extended by another month on the recommendation by Dikshit, he clearly violated the parole conditions as well.
Opposition BJP points out that Manu Sharma’s father Venod Sharma, who is an influential Congress leader in Haryana, played a major role in ensuring that the Congress government in Haryana could be sworn. He is believed to have been instrumental in getting the support of not only the seven independents but also the defectors from Haryana Janhit Congress which now only has Kuldeep Bishnoi left because as many as five of his MLAs joined Congress on Monday.
Sachin Pilot is the first Congress leader who has gone on record to even mildly express disagreement over the issue.
Nobody would have known
What is even more significant is that the news of Jessica Lal murder convict — who is serving a life sentence for having shot dead the Delhi model on April 29, 1999 at the Tamarind Court Bar — being out on parole came to public notice only because he was yet again involved in a brawl in a nightclub.
Observers point out that the brawl on the night of November 6 at F bar in New Delhi’s Ashoka hotel that Manu Sharma and Sahil Dhingra got involved with Pranay Dadwal and his female friend may even have gone unreported or been hushed up had Delhi police commissioner’s own son not been involved in the case.
The argument turned ugly and Pranay Dadwal informed his father, who happens to be none other than Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal.
It was because of this that a jeepload of cops landed up at the bar.
By then Manu Sharma and his friends had left F bar and moved to the exclusive LAP bar in the adjacent Samrat hotel, which is owned by Mumbai film actor and model Arjun Rampal.
By the time the police reached LAP, Manu had escaped. The police picked up Dhingra, and it was only on going through the CCTV video coverage that it could be confirmed that the person accompanying Dhingra was none other than the high profile Manu Sharma who, most people assumed, should have been in jail.
It was only then that it came to light that he had not only been granted parole, it had even been extended, while he had been out there partying at various nightclubs and bars, not only in Chandigarh, where he was supposed to be for the period of his parole, but also in Delhi.
Observers also point out how thee is nothing new in the subversion of justice in Manu Sharma’s case, as the powers that be had almost ensured his acquittal in the Jessica Lal murder case, which got re-opened because of an unprecedented media and public campaign.
CAN JUDGEMENT BE MANIPULATED IN INDIAN COURTS OF JUSTICE ? – WHY NOT PRISON SENTENCE FOR GUILTY SUPREME COURT ADVOCATES ?
New Delhi, August 21 The Delhi High Court imposed a four-month ban on senior advocate R K Anand and colleague I U Khan on Thursday for interfering with judicial proceedings in the high-profile BMW hit-and- run case. A fine of Rs 2,000 was levied as well.
On May 30, 2007, television channel NDTV caught both lawyers in a “sting” operation, conniving with key prosecution witness Suniel Kulkarni to get main accused Sanjeev Nanda off the hook.
A High Court Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Manmohan Sarin found the two guilty of criminal contempt.
“The entire material leaves a bitter taste in the mouth about the goings-on in the BMW case. There is no manner of doubt whatsoever that there was complicity between Mr Khan and Mr Anand… There can be absolutely no doubt that Mr Khan and Mr Anand were, somehow or the other, more than mixed up in the BMW case,” observed the court, which had taken suo motu cognizance of the expose the day after it was aired.
“Mr Anand and Mr Khan are prohibited from appearing in this court (Delhi High Court) or courts subordinate to it for four months from today. However, they are free to discharge their professional duties in terms of consultation, advice, conferences, opinions, etc,” said the Bench.
The court desisted from commenting on the conduct of Kulkarni, saying it would not be “proper” to do so. Though the verdict comes solely on basis of the CDs and transcripts of the sting operation, the Bench said, “the unshakeable truth is that Mr Anand is guilty of criminal contempt of court”. Contemplating a fit punishment, the Bench wondered how many in the legal fraternity had had been taken by surprise to find Anand indulging in such “sharp practices”. “Mr Anand has held many prestigious elective positions in the legal fraternity, including the Bar Council of Delhi. He has also been a Member of the Rajya Sabha,” noted the Bench.
The court said it knew Khan for his legal acumen and forensic skills — “perhaps the reason why he was appointed Special Public Prosecutor in the BMW case”. High expectations over Khan fell apart when his conduct “betrayed the trust that prosecution reposed in him… what he did was perhaps beyond the realm of contemplation of the prosecuting agency”.
Chastising the two for their misconduct, the Bench said: “We are not dealing with a young lawyer who, driven by ambition and desire… transgresses the limits or unwittingly or unknowingly commits criminal contempt. We are dealing with senior advocates, who are expected to conduct themselves as gentlemen and role models for younger members of the Bar.”
The court forwarded a recommendation that the two be “stripped of their designations as senior advocates”. The High Court Registrar General will put up the court’s recommendation before Chief Justice AP Shah within a month.
In response to the verdict, the Delhi Bar Association president, advocate Rajiv Khosla, said about 20,000 lawyers from district courts were going on strike on August 22 in protest.
R K Anand
Began legal career in Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court as a civil lawyer in 1967. Appointed government counsel in 1976. In 2000, JMM nominated him to Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand. Appointed AICC observer for Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh in February 2003.
* In 1980, represented the late Indira Gandhi in a property litigation filed by Maneka Gandhi after Sanjay Gandhi’s death
* Narasimha Rao in the JMM bribery and the St Kitts case
* Chandraswami in the FERA violation case
* H K L Bhagat in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case
* Former external affairs minister Natwar Singh’s son Jagat Singh in the murder/suicide of his wife Natasha Singh
I U Khan
One of the top five criminal lawyers in Capital. He was charging a fee of only Re 1 in the BMW case. Began his career in late 1960s, and came into spotlight in 1980s.
* Defended Sushil Sharma in the tandoor murder case, Subash Gupta in the Personal Point triple murder, former Youth Congress President Romesh Sharma in several cases and Tony Gill in Jessica Lall murdercase
When prosecution & defence lawyer together team up along with corrupt police / public servants and manipulate evidences / records , the court is helpless and will acquit the accussed for lack of evidences eventhough the presiding judge is of impeccable integrity , honesty , he is help less. Add to this , if the presiding judge happens to be corrupt & teams up with the criminal nexus , the result is devastating , the rich criminal will get away & the innocent will suffer punishment in some cases even death sentence. Who will bell these few corrupt among the judiciary , bar , police & public service ? why not prison sentence for two leading advocates on criminal charges of contempt of court , destruction of evidences ? are they above law ? why favouritism by court to the guilty in awarding punishment to guilty two advocates as they happen to be political influential ? will the court let a common man so leniently for the same charges ? In the past cases dealt by these corrupt duo advocates , there are possibilities that the same tactics of manipulation of evidences , prosecution is done to win the cases , to free the rich criminals , why not review of the cases dealt by these corrupt advocates ? The honest few among judiciary , bar , police & public service must uphold our constitution , rule of law & bring to book their corrupt colleagues.
CASH FOR JUDGEMENT
Chandigarh, August 22: Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Nirmal Yadav who has gone on leave after her name is said to have figured in the statements of the main accused in the case involving the delivery of cash at another High Court Judge’s house, said today that she was a “victim of a vilification campaign.” Speaking to The Indian Express at her Sector 24 residence here today, Justice Yadav said that “some influential persons were trying to shift the focus on her to save the real accused.” Justice Yadav denied that former Haryana Additional Advocate General Sanjeev Bansal had talked to her on phone on August 13 when Bansal’s clerk “mistakenly” delivered a bag containing Rs 15 lakh to the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, another sitting Judge of the High Court.
“Let any agency prove that I talked to Sanjeev Bansal on phone either on that day or any day in the past one month,” Justice Yadav said. “I am ready to face all consequences if this allegation is found true. I have had no dealings with Bansal. I have not received any money from Bansal or any of his associates. I am sure I will get justice.” Justice Yadav said she had explained her position to High Court Chief Justice T S Thakur and had “proceeded on leave.” She said she would not hear any case until her name is cleared.
Sources close to her said that during her meeting with Justice Thakur yesterday evening, in which some other senior judges were also present, Justice Yadav offered to proceed on leave to “maintain the highest traditions of Indian judiciary.” Justice Thakur told The Indian Express that he had not asked Justice Yadav to proceed on leave and that it was her own decision. It is learnt that in her meeting with Justice Thakur, Yadav vehemently denied any role in the entire role. While acknowledging that she and some other members of her family had bought a plot of 11.1 bighas of land (see accompanying story) at village Rihun Pargana near Kumharhatti in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh on August 14, Yadav is learnt to have denied that the money for purchasing the land came from Bansal or Ravinder Singh, the Delhi businessman, who is also named in the case.
“Can’t a judge buy legal property? Let the police or any other investigating agency prove that the money for the deal was provided by Bansal or Singh,” she is learnt to have told the Chief Justice. But she is learnt to have acknowledged, in her meeting with the Chief Justcie, that she knew Ravinder Singh. She is learnt to have said that she came to know him through some other judges.
Meanwhile, highly placed sources in the High Court confirmed that Chief Justice Thakur is awaiting the return of Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan from Brazil to apprise him of the developments in the case. The Chief Justice is learnt to have asked the administrative committee, comprising senior judges, to monitor the case on a daily basis.
The Rs 15-lakh delivery: Story So Far
•August 13: Parkash Ram, an assistant to Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Sanjeev Bansal, delivers a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Kaur calls the police.
•Rajeev Gupta, Bansal’s friend and a property dealer, tells the police that the money reached there by mistake and it was meant for Nirmal Singh, another property dealer. Chandigarh Police decline to hand over the cash. Bansal is questioned
•August 16: A case is registered against Bansal, Parkash Ram and Delhi- based hotelier Ravinder Singh who allegedly organised the money
•Bansal resigns as Addl AG and surrenders on August 19
•August 21: Rajeev Gupta, the property dealer who claimed the money was meant for Nirmal Singh, is arrested. The Inspector General of Police sends a report to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The report says that the money was meant for another judge.
•August 22: Justice Nirmal Yadav proceeds on leave
Caught in controversy is Solan plot that judge, 16 others purchased
CHANDIGARH, SOLAN, August 22: On August 14, according to revenue records, a plot measuring 11.1 bighas in Solan was purchased by Justice Nirmal Yadav and others for Rs 5, 52, 500. Details of the transaction, obtained by The Indian Express, show that the land was purchased by her and 16 others from six persons, all residents of village Rihun Pargana, near Kumharhatti in the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.
This purchase is said to have figured in the meeting between Justice Yadav and the High Court Chief Justice yesterday. Justice Yadav is said to have told the Chief Justice: “Can’t a judge buy legal property? Let the police or any other investigating agency prove that the money for the deal was provided by (Sanjeev) Bansal or Ravinder Singh.” The purchasers and sellers obtained permission from the Himachal Pradesh Government under Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy Act. Solan Naib Tehsildar N S Chauhan has confirmed on record that that the deal had been registered as per the details we have. The land was sold by residents of village including Baldev; Narinder Kumar; Surinder Kumar; Rajinder Kumar; Bimla Devi and Amar Singh. The sellers have given a General Power of Attorney to Surinder Kumar (one of the partners among the sellers), who executed a sale agreement in favour of the buyers.
Those named as purchasers (partners) in the land deal include Suruchi, a resident of House no. 3, Sector 14, Gurgaon; Trisha Chaudhary; Ram Niwas; Rajender Yadav; Chiranjeev; Latika; Deepak; Sunita; Vivek; Capt. NT Puri; Devinder Singh; Shakuntla; Kuldip Singh Yadav; Ajay Yadav; Sushank Puri; Mohit (all residents of house no. 1111, Sector 11, Panchkula) and Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Nirmal Yadav.
Three booked in judge bribery case
Haryana Addl Advocate General among booked Chandigarh, August 16: Three persons, including Additional Advocate General of Haryana Sanjeev Bansal, were on Saturday booked for an attempt to bribe a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge. The other two are Bansal’s munshi Parkash, who had carried Rs 15 lakh to the residence of High Court judge Nirmaljit Kaur on Wednesday night, and Ravinder Singh, a Delhi-based businessman who has a hotel in Karol Bagh. The munshi was taken into custody while a police party has been despatched to Delhi to nab Singh. Assistant Superintendent of Police Madhur Verma said the amount was supposed to be handed over to some other public servant but was mistakenly delivered at Kaur’s house. An FIR was lodged after Kaur complained to the police. She also reported the matter to the Chief Justice. Police said Singh had allegedly paid Bansal a huge amount to get settled a criminal case pending in the High Court. The case is due to come up for hearing on Wednesday.
Earlier, Singh had claimed the amount was pertaining to a property deal he had struck with a resident of Panchkula. The money was supposed to be delivered to one Nirmal Singh and was mistakenly delivered at the judge’s house. Verma, however, said the preliminary investigation had ruled out the possibility of the amount being related to any property deal. “Bansal failed to give a detailed account of the cash. He produced some papers pertaining to some property in Panchkula but that did not carry any weight. Our investigations caught him on the wrong foot and, therefore, we booked him along with two others under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy,” he added. Bansal has been handling several high-profile cases. He is one of the dozen-odd Additional Advocate Generals appointed by the Haryana Government about two years ago.
Corrupt judge in Allahabad High Court by Rajeev
If the Judges go corrupt, then it is GOD who will give one justice when one go to heaven or hell. It is a Irony that I filed a complaint against a District and Session Judge who later promoted to High Court of Allahabad. I wish the God will serve HIS justice to Hon’ble Justice Umeshware Pandey, now enjoying at High Court and selling (Mis)Justice at Rs 100000 per page!! Here I am elaborating what had happened. In 1994, two people name Parashram Agarwal and Mohan Lal Agarwal wanted to grab my father’s property and in March 1994 they beat him and pulled his legs( just imagine the pain) making him handicapped for life. Then in court those guys were merely sentenced for 6 months in Jail, but they did not went for the jail for single day or hour and appealed to Sessions Court and then the corrupt Judge Umeshwar Pandey took the bribe of Rs 200000 in Criminal Revision number 13/2000 from Parashram Agarwal and Mohan Lal.
It is a shame on Umeshwar Pandey that he cannot see a Handicapped man suffering for last 9 years and even then not given the justice. Umeshwar Pandey has taken this bribe via his Steno name some G. D. Gupta. It is the habit of Parashram and MohanLal to record the conversation while giving bribes on hidden audio recorder and the same cassette can be recovered if the authority try. It is been 8 months since I have informed various authorities by registered letters and phone calls from USA for no action till date.
I have spoken to Mr Jagmohan Paliwal who was posted as Vigilance Officer for no action till date and the recording attached is from Sept 2002. Similarly I have spoken with Mr. K. S. Rakhra who was posted as Registrar General but no action till date, and the recoding shown is from Sept 2002 too. Even CBI has forwarded my letter to Registrar General, but no action is taken on that one too.
I have emaild my plea to few High court Judges too for no response. I just hope GOD is there who will give some justice. But the corrupt Judges should stop imitating as GOD they are devil actually. The only solution can be people make a limit. How much money a person needs. I often think about a story that a saint refused to take the food as he already got the food for today and he do not want to collect for tomorrow. But I don’t know why people want to generate money for 7 generations. If a careful analysis and investigation is done Umeshwar Pamdey has Black money worth 3 generations. I guess instead of Lakhs and Carore now corruption should be measured in generations.
Education is important. People need to understand the meaning of freedom truly. IF I say boldly India is still not free. People have mentality that they need to pay to Government officials for work. This mentality has to be removed.
HC suspends judge over corruption complaints
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has suspended a fast track court judge in Rajpipla after receiving several complaints of corruption and favouritism against her. Rajpipla fast track court Judge DL Desai was suspended on Thursday evening after a primary inquiry held by the court’s vigilance department said that the complaints against her had substance. Further inquiry against her will be conducted by the department. Besides the complaint of favouritism in Rajpipla, where she was presently posted, the Desai was also accused of similar charges and issuing certificates without proper verification in Bharuch, where the she was discharging her duty as a principal district judge, the High Court authorities said.
The HC administration seems to be seriously taking the issue of corruption prevailing in Gujarat’s judiciary, as Desai’s is the fourth suspension in last three months. Earlier in May, a judge in Surat’s court, AN Vinjhola was suspended after similar complaints against him. The court administration also found him in possession of property out of proportion considering his known sources of income. Last month, two judges were suspended on charges of corruption. The Ahmedabad city civil Judge NM Thakor and KV Kakkad were also suspended by the HC after holding preliminary inquiry into complaints against them. All the four suspended judges are now facing departmental inquiry.
FOREIGN TOURS OF INDIAN JUDGES AT TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE
New Delhi: CNN-IBN’s exclusive report on some judges using official trips to holiday, has sparked off the debate – should judges be above the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act? RTI activists say there is every reason why the RTI Act should apply to the higher judiciary as well. Questions are now being asked in South Block, too, following the expose on Supreme Court judges. Records obtained under the RTI shows judges have been converting work trips to holidays, taking long detours and are accompanied by their wives while traveling abroad.
At present there are no travel guidelines for the judiciary and the Bar Council of India is suggesting a course correction. “I think the judges must pay or should pay the amount to the government,” Bar Council of India Chairman SNP Sinha said in Patna on Wednesday.
Under the RTI, CNN-IBN found that for Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan’s 11-day trip to Pretoria, South Africa in August 2007 the route was – Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Capetown, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, where the judge finally didn’t go and back to Delhi via Dubai.
Former chief justice YK Sabharwal attended three conferences in 2005 to Edinburgh, Washington and Paris. While the conferences lasted 11 days, Sabharwal was out for 38 days with 21 days converted into a private visit. The travel plan included a detour from Washington to Baltimore, Orlando and Atlanta, before rejoining the conference route in Paris. The First Class air fare for Sabharwal’s entire trip was paid by the government. Activists are now renewing the debate on the RTI act applying to judges as well
RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said: “It only underscores why the RTI needs to be applied to judges and judiciary.” Just like Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion, RTI activists are demanding that SC judges too should be seen to be accountable.
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