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Editor: Nagaraj.M.R….vol.4 . issue.18……03/05/2008
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Editorial : INDIAN JUDICIARY UNDER RTI PURVIEW
The corrupt among public servants always give a ruse , reason to escape from accountability. Recently government of Karnataka under president’s rule has enacted a rule limiting the number of informations sought in RTI application to 3 . already bureaucrats are successful in exempting official file notings from RTI purview. These file notings are the basis on which official decisions are taken by superiors , so if one wants to know the intention behind an official decision it is imperative to know all the notings.
Police apply 3rd degree torture on accussed , ask questions for hours in the name of extracting truth , the same police are afraid to answer questions lest the truth come out.
In the courts of law , numerous questions are asked , cross examination done to extract truth . if one remains silent it amounts to confession / agreeing to all charges leveled. In courts of law , during cross examination one must give straight forward answers , one cann’t give vague answers nor state excuses for not answering a question. If one doesn’t give straight forward answers that also is considered as agrreing to the charges levelled. The courts go to any length to extract answers to it’s questions , take for example rape cases in the backdrop of our Indian tradition. In the courts of law , the rape victim – woman who has already suffered injustice , shame is made to depose before male judges , lawyers who are total strangers and made to repeatedly explain how the crime of rape was committed. So once again the victim is made to suffer more shame in the society. For the courts answers to questions , cross examination , legal procedures is more important than honour of woman. The very same judges are afraid to answer questions , cross examination under one pretext or the other lest the truth come out.
Even our people’s representatives – MPs , MLAs , etc are afraid to speak out truth , to honour RTI act citing legal privileges , etc. in India , during appointment of persons to government service back ground check & clearance by police is mandatory & during appointment into sensitive defense , space , atomic energy establishments , etc apart from police verification , investigation by intelligence agencies is a must. No such thing for our MLAs , MPs . However now criminalization of politics is almost in India , some of the accussed are drafting laws like IPC , Indian defense rules , police code , purviews of judiciary , etc. they are drafting laws to legalise their crimes. The election commission of India is not properly verifying the affidavits of candidates , also the vigilance authorities , lokayukthas are not properly verifying the affidavits of sitting MLAs , MPs , etc.
More than RTI ACT , to seek information is part of every Indian citizen’s fundamental rights & human rights , RTI ACT is just fulfilling that right partly & fixing a time frame. Nobody , no constitutional functionary is higher than Indian citizens , nobody’s privileges or any laws prevailing over the fundamental rights & duties of Indian citizens is constitutional , just or legal . The shame is that even after 60 years of independence , FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS & DUTIES OF INDIAN CITIZENS is observed more in breach than implementation , by our public servants including the judiciary .
Hereby , we urge all the public servants – judges , police , people’s representatives to honour RTI ACT , to honour Indian citizen’s fundamental & human rights and to facilitate them to perform their fundamental duties. The silence of public servants to the questions asked or vague answers , ruses by public servants amounts to confessions , agreeing to the questions , charges leveled & crimes committed .
Let the TRUTH prevail. Jai hind. Vande mataram.
Judiciary under RTI Act, says parliamentary panel
New Delhi, April 29
A parliamentary committee today held that judiciary comes under the purview of the Right to Information law with regard to all activities of administration except “judicial decision making.” “Except the judicial decision making, all other activities of administration and the persons included in it (judiciary) are subject to RTI Act,” said the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law and Justice.
The opinion of the committee headed by E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappanan comes against the backdrop of a raging controversy over whether the judiciary comes under the RTI purview. Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan had recently said the CJI is a constitutional authority and does not come within the purview of the RTI Act.
The committee, which went into the demands of grants for the personnel ministry and discussed the interpretation of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, that is, definition of public authority, said the provision is very clear that all constitutional authorities come under the definition of public authority. The committee had examined in detail every clause of the RTI Act, 2004 and was conscious of the fact that all wings of the state, executive, legislature and judiciary, are fully covered under this Act since all organs of the state are accountable to the citizens of India in a democratic state. “It is more so since the judiciary is having a dual role as (i) administrative function and (ii) judicial decision making.
AN APPEAL TO HONOURABLE CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSIONER , NEW DELHI & STATE INFOR MATION COMMISSIONER , BANGALORE.
We at e-voice of human rights watch has requested for following information ( ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ) from honourable CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA , SUPREME COURT OF INDIA , NEW DELHI , UNION HOME SECRETARY , GOI , NEW DELHI , DG&IG OF POLICE , GOK , BANGALORE , COMMISSIONER , BANGALORE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY , BANGALORE & COMMISSIONER , MYSORE URBAN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY , MYSORE , as per RTI Act . All of them have failed to provide complete truthful information to us.
Full Case details are given at following web page,
RTI APPEAL TO HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA , SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
RTI APPEAL TO UNION HOME SECRETARY , GOI , NEW DELHI
RTI APPEAL TO DG&IG OF POLICE , GOK , BANGALORE
RTI APPEAL BDA COMMISSIONER , MUDA , MYSORE
RTI APPEAL TO BDA COMMISSIONER , BDA , BANGALORE
Hereby , we do once again request you to order the said public servants – to comply with RTI Act & to provide the full information to us at the earliest. JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM.
INDIAN JUDICIAL & LEGAL SYSTEM INDIRECTLY IN THE CLUTCHES OF MAFIA
In India , justice , equality & democracy an illusion . all those words are only there is in statuette books , but not in practice . the rich & mighty crooks are committing gravest crimes & escaping from the hands of law by manipulating evidences , by bribing the public servants to create favourable government reports , records. Poor
people who have suffered injustices are not getting justice due to lack of evidences & government reports , records to prove their case.
CORRUPTION IS THERE RIGHT FROM GOVERNMENT MATERNITY HOSPITAL UPTO
GRAVEYARD , THROUGHT THE WALK OF ONE’S LIFE.
The corrupt public servants are more cruel , damaging criminals than our previous british oppressors or dawood ibrahim & other under world dons. The gravest threat , damages to india’s security & national integrity is more from these corrupt public servants than Pakistan or china or other terrorist outfits. These corrupt public servants can stoop to any level in their greed for money. The present state affairs is a shame to our political & legal system and a barometer , indicator to their efficiency.
Recently , we have seen in the media , how people of bihar meated out mob justice to a criminal , that will be the fate of corrupt police , doctors , other officials in the future. But the violence is not the answer , that will only lead towards anarchy. We must establish true democracy of bapuji’s dreams , true freedom , equality for all in practice for which so many of our fore fathers , freedom fighters sacrificed their life for.
THE ANSWER LIES IN ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC SERVANTS , ALL CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONARIES INCLUDING JUDGES , TO THEIR PAY MASTERS – MONARCHS OF DEMOCRACY ie CITIZENS OF DEMOCRATIC INDIA. Hope this will dawn on our public servants that they are PUBLIC SERVANTS NOT PUBLIC MASTERS.
Failure of RTI Act in India
– In the clutches of corrupt public servants mafia
In the courts of law , every statement to be valid must be supported by evidences. That too, the statements of public servants / government officials & their reports in government records are considered as sacrosanct , the ultimate gospel truth by courts of law.
The corruption has spread it’s tentacles far & wide in the public service. The bribe booty is shared by lower to higher officials. If an official is complained against , his higher official conducts a formal investigation & reports in the record that lower official is not guilty.
The vigilance authorities / Karnataka lokayukta has recently raided on police , tax officials & seized illegal wealth amounting to crores of rupees. Take the recent case where in senior IPS officer , superintendent of police chamarajanagar , mr.srikantappa was arrested by Karnataka lokayukta. The victims spoke to media that he used to threaten them with false cases. In this way , how many victims / innocents were arrested & tortured by his arrest warrants ? how many innocents suffered in false cases ? how many rich criminals got scot free , by srikantappa’s filing of B reports leading to closure of cases ?
In the past how many suffered by srikantappa’s actions ? has the court subjected to review all the previous actions of srikantappa throught his corrupt career ? if not , why ?
The courts of law has taken the official reports , records of mr.srikantappa as gospel truth & indirectly aided rich criminals & harmed innocents. It is the same case with respect to reports of all government officials ï¿½ police , labour , tax , etc. the rich criminals buy out government officials & make them write favourable report about themselves. Whereas the poor , innocents suffer from adverse reports & injustices. The courts of law takes the government records at it’s face value & meat out injustices to the poor , innocents while aiding the rich criminals.
When a commoner requests for information as per RTI Act , the government officials either give incomplete information , false information or decline to give information under one pretext or the other. The officials are damn sure that the truthful information will be detrimental to themselves & will be taken as evidence against themselves in the courts of law. So information , truth is not given. Even information commissions are failing here. Thereby, the public are denied to seek justice in the courts of law , by lack of evidences.
The courts of law before accepting the records of government officials , must subject it to a “test of truth”. When a government report is contested against , a fact finding team comprising members of public , complainant , respondent & the court , must check it out at the ground level. Orelse when a complainant says that the report of a government official ï¿½ police , labour , tax , etc as false that government official must be subjected to lie detector test , narco-analysis, ertc by court of law. The questionnaire ie the questions to be asked during the scientific test are to be prepared with feedback from both complainant & respondent’s side. In that way , impartially truth can be found out. After all , the objective of courts of law is “Quest for Truth”, not just giving out judgements based on reports of corrupt officials.
Nowadays , we are even seeing reports of corruption among the judiciary itself. If a complaint against a judge is made out that a level ground is not provided to put up one’s case in the court or cross examination of one party is not allowed or lie detector test / narco analysis of one party is not allowed ( in turn taking the lies of that party as truth ), the judge making a varied interpretation of law, the judge not safe guarding the health & life of the complainant in the custody of police leading to 3rd degree torture of complainant by police , etc, in all such cases the supreme court of India must change the presiding judge of such cases , the cases must be thoroughly reviewed & the guilty judge must be subjected to narco-analysis , lie detector test , etc & legally prosecuted. In this back drop , accountability of police & judges to the public ie citizens of India ï¿½ kings of democracy , is a must. After all , the kings of democracy / citizens of India / taxpayers are the paymasters of all public servants.
We at e ï¿½ voice of human rights of watch have utmost respect for the judiciary & all government institutions. It is the corrupt few in those institutions who are themselves bringing disgrace to the august institutions they occupy , by their corrupt deeds. The saving grace is that still honest few are left in public service & it is an appeal to them , to legally prosecute their corrupt colleagues.
In India , the private enterprises are the wealth creators of our economy. However , some private enterprises are violating labour laws , tax laws , human rights & fundamental rights of people. In turn harming the public , looting the tax dues. This is creating black money causing various social evils in the society. These huge private enterprises take loans from public sector banks ie take public’s money as loans , collect money from public in the form of shares , debentures , sell their product to the public. Still , they are not covered by RTI Act, they don’t give truthful information to the public nor allow public inspection of their sites , why ? they buy out concerned government officials & gets them to write favourable report about themselves. There are wide differences between the ground reality & these government reports. If the aggrieved person , victim of injustices meated out by these private enterprises , tries to legally seek justice, these criminal private enterprises buy out police , concerned officials & fixes up the victim in false cases. The police in total disregard to law violates the human rights & fundamental rights of the victim in custody , subjects the victim to 3rd degree torture in custody. The presiding judge of the case doesn’t safe guard the rights , health , life of victims in custody. The judge doesn’t check out the truthfulness of government reports & passes on judgement making varied interpretation of just remember the case of “local citizens vs coca cola company” in plachimada , kerala.
Is it not right & just in such cases , to subject the presiding judge , police , concerned government officialds & most importantly key officials of that criminal private enterprise to lie detector , narco- analysis tests , to know the truth ? is it not right to conduct the inspection of alleged site , review of all company’s records , by a team comprising of members from public , court , complainant & respondent ?
Some of these criminal enterprises threaten to finish off the poor victims . as these company’s have money power they can buy out rowdies , police & capable of doing anything. In such cases , if anything untoward happens to the victim or his family , are not the officials of such criminal enterprise liable to pay compensation to the victims’s family or survivors ?
In India , do we truly have democracy & freedom ? is this corrupt India ï¿½ what our freedom fighters dreamt of & fought for ?
History of Corruption in Indian Judiciary since Independence: 1947 – 2003
1949: Mr. Justice Sinha only Judge impeached; courtesy Good Judges & Constitution Framers: Our Fore-Fathers represented by Constituent Assembly of India framers of Constitution of India then in 1949 (year before Consitution came into existence) impeached Mr. Justice Sinha; finding him “guilty of improper exercise of Judicial functions, the cumulative effect of which was to lower the dignity of his office and undermine the confidence of the public in the administration of justiceâ€¦” [008.07].
Such/ similar acts/ behaviours by whom-so-ever including Judges is since 1971 is covered as an act of Criminal Contempt of Court [041.05 ]. Not a single Judge is either Impeached or hauled-up for Contempt till 1991.
Peoples’ Inner Hope Courts to maintain their Majesty & Dignity will prosecute 1000 Judges in context, who have tarnished & undermined the Fair image of Judiciary.
Let Judges relish Jail for months if not years ; to asses personally the convinences-N-comforts provided even to innocent citizens or persons who were not having Rs. 100 to give as Bail. Then they will be in better position to Transform Jails into Reformation Centres. Jailing corrupt Judges by Judges , we hope will instill confidence of people in Courts & law. Who-is-who of India then only will scare to get into any scam nor Criminals will think of becoming Legislators.
1979 : Chief Justice Mr. K. Veeraswami ; Chief Justice of India permitted Central Bureau of India to file case of Dis-proportionate of Income / wealth against Chief Justice Madras High Court Mr. K. Veeraswami ( father-in-law of Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami ). 30 years elaped. Sheltered by Courts’ easy-go-tactic. [049.04] [059.05 ]
1991-93: Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami ( son-in-law of Chief Justice Mr. K. Veeraswami [049.04 ] ) : SAWANT COMMITTEE REPORT had held he is guilty of several charges. Supreme Court of India also upheld guilty of 3-4 charges ; & recommended to Parliament for further action. Parliamentarians failed in their Duty to Impeach the Sitting Judge of Supreme Court Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami ; not rising to the Heights of Eminent Constitution makers ; but chose to have unholy alliance with Corruption in Judiciary vis-a-vis Legislature & Government.[008.00 ].
Supreme Court which upheld Charges of Mis-Behaviour also , we opine , failed to prosecute him under Contempt of Court Act & relevant Laws . It also failed ” To Do Complete Justice” by invoking Article142 . Criminal Judge was allowed to go scot-free; both by Parliament & Supreme Court !
Good precedent for other Judges ? If so What kind of message to we-innocent-Citizens ? For almost complete proceedings in SC & Parliament: [008.00 ]
1995 A.M. BHATTACHARJEE: The chief justice of the Bombay High Court was forced to resign in 1995 after it was found that he had received Rs.70 lakh as book advance from a publishing firm known to have links with the underworld.
1996 AJIT SENGUPTA: The Calcutta High Court judge made it a routine to issue ex parte, ad interim stay orders on anticipatory bail pleas from smugglers having links with the Mumbai underworld. He was arrested in 1996 for FERA violations after retirement
1994 to 1997: A.M. AHMADI: When he was Chief Justice of India (October 1994-March 1997), his daughter, a lawyer in the Delhi High Court, caused eyebrows to be raised for getting “special” treatment from certain judges. When some members of the bar sought a resolution banning lawyer relatives of judges from staying in the same house, the CJI got members to defeat the motion.
2000 A.S. ANAND: As Chief Justice of India. (a) He was accused of using his position to get the subordinate judiciary to rule in favour of his wife and mother-in-law in a suit that had been barred by limitation for two decades.For more: [049.05] [049.05A] [049.05B] [049.05C] [049.05D] [049.05E ] called as TANGLED PLOT. Also read Ram Jethmalani’s ” BIG EGOS, small men “. (b) Supreme Court , while he was CJI,directed a CBI probe after a dispute arose over his age in 2000. The investigation report was not made public.This arose due to scan copy published in Ram Jethmalani’s ” BIG EGOS, small men “.
2002: SEX FOR ACQUITTAL
In November 2002, Sunita Malviya, a Jodhpur-based doctor, alleged that a deputy registrar of the Rajasthan High Court had sought sexual favours for himself and for Justice Arun Madan to “fix” a case in her favour. Justice Mr.Â· Arun Madan . Case of Lady Sunita Malviya.STATUS: A committee set up by former CJI G.B. Pattanaik found prima facie evidence against Madan, who does not attend court anymore. Judge Resigned
CASH-FOR-JOB :Three judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court sought the help of disgraced PPSC chief R.P. Sidhu to ensure that their daughters and other kin topped examinations conducted by the commission . Judges are M.L. Singh , Mehtab Sing Gill & Amarbir Singh
STATUS: Two inquiry panels indicted the judges. Gill and Amarbir Singh have resigned M.L. Singh continues, though no work is allotted to him.
2002-03: 3 Judges Mysore Sex Scandal ( alleged ) : On Sunday, November 3, 2002, three judges of the Karnataka High Court, along with two women advocates, allegedly got involved in a brawl with a woman guest at a resort. The police arrived but reportedly didn’t take action. Judges are N.S. Veerabhadraiah , V. Gopalagowda &Â· Chandrashekaraiah .STATUS: The three-judge inquiry committee appointed by the CJI filed its report. Gave clean chit.
March 2003 – Delhi High Court Judge resigns: Suspected of collusion with Property Developers. Raids by CBI on corrupt higher officials in Delhi Development Authority (DDA), found Draft Judgement-N-Court Records
E(I)nquiry-in-camera or In-House Inquiry was & is contrary to Law . Is ultra vires Article 14 of Constitution of India: ” The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”
Following Questions / Issues, inter alia , arise
( a ) Enquiry in-camera was held contrary to the observations made by, Constituent Assembly of India in 1949. In its’ Impeachment Order had held thus:”While we are alive to the desirability, in the interests of the public, of investigating charges against a Judge in open court, we held the Enquiry in-camera in view of the allegation made in the affidavits and the circumstances of the case. This mode of proceeding should not, however, be regarded as a precedent.” [008.07 ].
( b) In the case of similar In-House Inquiry held under the Orders of Chief Justice of India in Jusice V. Ramaswami’s case , Justice Ramaswami had held that ” Inquiring Committee” as well as ” Inquiry” have no basis & force of law. It is reflected in the Report , which was read-out by CJI to Advocates & publicised , submitted by 3 Judges Committee thus” Indeed Justice Ramaswami had made it clear to the Chief Justice that he did not recognise any such Jurisdiction in any body or authority.”
(c) It will not be out-of place to mention here that Two of “Three Judges Committee ” appointed by CJI in Re. V. Ramaswami’s case are alleged to be involved in Judges Plot 4 Plot.[014.00]. It is like Criminal investigating another criminal .
( d ) If so how sure can we be that ” 3 Judges Committee ” appointed to invetigate ” 3 Judges Mysore Sex Scandal ” were un-biased or were above Board & have presented an accurate Report ?
Queries to Supreme Court , Parliament of India & Central Government
In Re. Judges’ Mysore Sex Scandal
( a)” Will the Supreme Court Publicise Report of ” 3 Judges Committee ” ( all & sundry material); morefully to know whether any evidence adduced by many in support of Scam is informed to CJI & Supreme Court ?
(b) What is the Guarantee that despite prima facie evidence Judges of Supreme Court which consists of Few corrupt Judges seved in Karnataka are not inclined to take stern action ?
(c) Investigation of a Crime comitted by Minister or anyone lies within Executive Domain like the case Justice K.Veeraswami, in this case CBI . Is it not a case of hushing-up & messing-up of ” 3 Pillars of Constitution ” ?.
(d) How long will you try keeping suppressed Crimes of Judges of Supreme Court & High Courts when Union Law Minister Mr. P. Shiva Shankar , on 28th Nov.1987 said ” Supreme Court is filled with FERA violators & Bride Burnersâ€¦” ( AIR 1988 SC 1208 ). When Chief Justice Of India Justice E.S. Venkataramaiaha admits that “in every High Court there are 3-4 Judges who are out every evening to Party in Foreign Embassiies or at Advocates’ placesâ€¦drinkâ€¦dineâ€¦” (1990 Cr LJ 2179 ) [041.09].
(e) 20% of Judges are corrupt , indirectly said Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice S.P. Bharucha , in other words admitted that 80% of Judges of India are not corrupt & are above board to be bribed or influnced ? Then why cases are not filed against 20% of Judges ?
LOSS of Confidence in Judiciary : The Actions & Inactions of Supreme Court trying to suppress crimes of Judges has resulted in We, the People of India losing confidence in Courts & given rise to a Question whether at all People of India’s Fundamental & Statutory Rights are safe in present set of Judges & Courts and Laws Governing thereof ?
Conscience of Judiciary Shaken: Supreme Court of India: “Police Raj” it said when Judges all over India went on a kind of strike; for the reason that a District Judge in liquor prohibited Gujarat State in 1991; drunk & misbehaved , police acted as per law or so. Conscience of Judiciary was shaken the Court claims. What was it to do with Judges all over India? Have they ganged-up as One to help each other & continue crimes but still go unpunished? Punish Dutiful Police?
“Police Raj” to “Judges Tyranny”: Judges serving all over India have formed an Assocition called ” All India Judges Association “. At the time when One Party System in Parliament managed by Congress was to give way to Multi-Party System (1989 & 1991 General Elections); Supreme Court gave Judgments in 1992 & 1993 upholding that Judges of subordinate courts of India are not Employees. They are like Ministers / M.L.A.s but not on par of Civil Servants [037.02][037.02A ]. Inter alia Court said Central Govt. should set-up ” All India Judicial Services ” & ” National Judicial Pay Commission “. Supreme Court continuously monitored to see that Pay Commission (FNJPC) is constituted but failed to monitor setting-up of All India Judicial Services [055.02 ]. What Judges want is more Liberty / Perks / Powers but no liabilities / Duties. Un-bridled they want to be as Judges of Supreme Court & High Court. FNJPC was also given power to give Interim Relief to Judges. Non setting-up of National Judicial Academy [008.15 ] & All India Judicial Services is nothing but Fraud on Constitution & Supreme Court
Criminal Politicians Vs Criminal Judges : Hats off for the Judgment of Supreme Court striking-down of Parliamentary Act amending Representatives of Peoples Act. Court said Come Clean Mr. Politicians in relation to diclosure of their Criminal , Financial & other such antecedents so as to help electorate of India to decide whether to vote for good or bad person in elections. But this 50 years belated Judgment came as Bolt from Blue to politicians. In this perod Aliens, Anti-nationals, Criminals & all sundries had a field Day.
But then What about Criminal / Corrupt / Judgment-for-Sex Judges ?: The Supreme Court was unanimous in the Judgment of corrupt politicians. Parliament is not unanimous to Bridle Judges or judiciary. Nor is the Supreme Court ready to find ways & means to Tame / Terminate / Jail the Corrupt / criminal / Judgment-for-Sex Judges. Such inactions of Supreme Court or High Court is nothing short of giving leverage to such of them. It looks as though Supreme Court on its own is eroding faith of Public in Judiciary as a whole. Like Termites these Judges are Constitutional-Enemies-Within-India who are bent upon to disseminate corruption among other Good Judges.
India: Time to end the lethal lottery of India’s death penalty system
(New Delhi): The first major study into India’s legal judgements on death penalty cases has revealed that the system is riddled with fatal flaws and that the only remedy is to abolish the death penalty completely, said the study authors in New Delhi today.
Amnesty International believes that at least 140 people have been sentenced to death in 2006 and 2007. According to the latest available official figures, there were 273 persons on death row as of 31 December 2005. But this figure is likely to be considerably higher today.
The fate of these death row prisoners is ultimately a lottery. In the first comprehensive analysis of around 700 Supreme Court judgements on death penalty cases over more than 50 years, the authors expose a judicial system that has failed to meet international laws and standards relating to the death penalty.
Amnesty International India and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu & Puducherry) have issued the study, Lethal Lottery: The Death Penalty in India, A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006.
It is the first to examine the essential unfairness of the death penalty system in India by analysing evidence found in Supreme Court judgments of abuse of law and procedure and of arbitrariness and inconsistency in the investigation, trial, sentencing and appeal stages in capital cases. It demonstrates that:
• the administration of the death penalty in India has not been in the “rarest of rare cases” as claimed in the country
• on the contrary, there is ample evidence to show that the death penalty has been an arbitrary, imprecise and abusive means of dealing with defendants.
Dr V Suresh, President, PUCL (TN & Puducherry) said: “While the death penalty continues to be used in India, there remains a danger that it will be used disproportionately against ethnic minorities, the poor or other disadvantaged groups. There is only one way to ensure such inequalities in the administration of justice do not occur: the complete abolition of the death penalty.”
Amnesty International welcomes the current hiatus of executions in the country. The relative lack of executions in the last decade — one in 2004 — illustrates that the people of India are willing to live without the death penalty.
“India stands at a crossroads. It can choose to join the global trend towards a moratorium on the death penalty, as adopted by the UN General Assembly last year. It will also then join 27 countries in the Asia Pacific region which have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.
“Or it can continue to hang death row inmates, when the judicial system that puts them there has been shown by this extensive research to be unfair,” said Mukul Sharma, Amnesty International-India Director.
The full report is available at http://www.amnesty.org/en/report/info/ASA20/007/2008 and a summary, at http://www.amnesty.org/en/report/info/ASA20/006/2008
The study of the courts highlights some of the main failings as:
- Errors in consideration of evidence – most death sentences handed down in India are based on circumstantial evidence alone. In a 1994 Supreme Court appeal, the Court noted sarcastically that the main witness’s memory constantly improved. His testimony at the trial three years after the incident was observed to be far more detailed than his confessional statement recorded a few days after.
- Inadequate legal representation – concerns included lawyers ignoring key facts of mental incompetence, omitting to provide any arguments on sentencing, or failing to dispute claims that the accused was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime despite evidence to the contrary.
- Anti-terrorist legislation – concerns include the broad definition of ‘terrorist acts’, insufficient safeguards on arrest, and provisions allowing for confessions made to police to be admissible as evidence.
- Arbitrariness in sentencing – in the same month, different benches of the Supreme Court have treated similar cases differently, with mitigating factors taken into account or disregarded arbitrarily.
- In the Bachan Singh judgment of 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty should be used only in the “rarest of rare” cases. More than a quarter of a century later, it is clear that through the failure of the courts and the State authorities to apply consistently the procedures laid down by law and by that judgment, the Court’s strictures remain unfulfilled.
A total of 135 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, having realised executions are unacceptable. In 2007, only 24 countries carried out executions (China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA were the main five perpetrators, accounting for 88 per cent of all known executions). See http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty
Judicial nepotism rampant in India
April 12, 2007 by CyberGandhi
In the first step in the fight against judicial nepotism, the Law Ministry wrote to the Bar Council of India last month asking it to ensure that lawyers don’t appear in cases before judges who are close relatives. However, it appears to have ignored the wider problem of what is called Son Stroke or Uncle Judge, where judges have close relatives practising in the same court.
NDTV discovered that this trend, where two judges or a group of judges have children practising in each other’s courts, is widespread. While not everyone takes advantage of what has been described as a mutual cooperative society, many of them do. This problem first surfaced in 2003, when the Bar Council of India demanded the transfer of all judges whose relatives practised in the same courts.
A year later, BK Roy, then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, issued an administrative order barring a group of 10-12 judges from hearing any case pleaded by each other’s relatives.
He quoted eminent jurist HM Seervai: “Experience shows that an impression is created in the public, however unjustified it may be, that it would be advantageous to engage a judge’s son as an advocate.”
“It was generally believed that A, B, C and D (all judges) constituted a mutual co-operative society, in the sense was believed that each of the four judges (A, B, C and D) would protect the sons of the three other judges.”
The order sparked off a protest by judges in Punjab who took mass leave. Justice BK Roy was subsequently transferred, and since then, the order has been ignored.
“Some relatives misuse their connections more blatantly than others, but the problem remains in principle. An especially acute feature of problem of nepotism as it exists here is that apart from relatives of high court judges, children of sitting Supreme Court judges from this region also practise here at Chandigarh.”
“The advantages, the benefits that accrue to them from their connections is well known to all and is fully exploited,” said Anupam Gupta, Senior Advocate, Punjab & Haryana High Court.
Recently an MP raised the issue of judicial nepotism again and claimed that out of 490 judges of the various High Courts and the Supreme Court, relatives of 131 judges are practising in the same court.
Finally, four long years after the issue was first raised by the Bar Council, the Law Ministry issued a directive. But it was confined to saying that no lawyer shall plead a case before a judge who is a close relative.
It completely skirts the issue of close relatives of a judge practising in the same court – the Uncle Judge or Son Stroke syndrome.
“There are complaints from all over the country that judges’ children are practising in the same high court and that is causing grave problem in regard to handling of cases and the judges favouring and one judges son appearing before another judge,” said M N Krishnamany, President, SC Bar Association.
Judges are, in fact, expected to follow a code of conduct which points out that: “Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly with those who practise in the same court, shall be eschewed.”
But is this distance really possible?
“If your son, brother or sister is practising in the same court, you can’t eschew close association with your son, daughter or brother.”
“Therefore, you should not be a judge in the same court; you should opt to be transferred to some other court where a close relative is not practising,” said Prashant Bhushan, Member, Committee on Judicial Accountability.
However, as figures show, this is clearly not the trend.
In the Punjab & Haryana High Court, the relatives of eight sitting judges plead cases, while in Delhi High Court, the close relatives of nine sitting judges are practising lawyers.
Also senior lawyers feel that the children of judges are often favoured.
“That instances have come that a relation of a judge having joined only three four years in the practise suddenly his briefs are huge in number so that is what it is under scrutiny because he takes advantage of his position,” said Jaganath Patnaik, President, Bar Council of India.
“It is very clear also as I know personally so many judges in the High Courts their children are practising and are being pampered also,” said M N Krishnamani, President, SC Bar Association.
The public impression is that in order to get a favourable order, it’s better to hire a close relative of a judge to plead your case.
Now the questions that remain to be answered are can the Bar Councils keep a check on this practise and is the Law Ministry seriously concerned about ending nepotism?
Ajmer Singh, Wednesday, April 11, 2007 (New Delhi), NDTV.COM
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