Eight chief justices were corrupt: Ex-law minister



NEW DELHI: Former law minister Shanti Bhushan on Thursday created a sensation in the Supreme Court when he moved an application accusing eight former Chief Justices of India of “corruption”, and dared the court to send him to jail for committing “contempt of court”.

The eight allegedly corrupt CJIs feature among a list of 16 prepared by Bhushan—comprising Justices Ranganath Mishra, K N Singh, M H Kania, L M Sharma, M N Venkatachalliah, A M Ahmadi, J S Verma, M M Punchhi, A S Anand, S P Bharucha, B N Kirpal, G B Patnaik, Rajendra Babu, R C Lahoti, V N Khare and Y K Sabharwal. Terming eight among the list as “definitely corrupt”, Bhushan put their names in a sealed cover and submitted it to the Supreme Court and virtually dared it to open it and read out the contents.

He said of the 16 on his list, “six were definitely honest and about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt”. The veteran lawyer, who became famous by successfully arguing for setting aside the election of Indira Gandhi in 1975, triggering a chain of events leading to imposition of Emergency, resorted to the dramatic action in solidarity with his son, lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is facing contempt charges for accusing current CJI S H Kapadia and his predecessors of misconduct.



“Make me a party along with Prashant Bhushan,” requested Bhushan Sr, who was law minister in the post-Emergency Morarji Desai cabinet, as he challenged the SC to send him to jail for contempt. Bhushan’s challenge to the SC can put the apex court in a bind. It may be constrained not to ignore the provocation lest it start a trend. The option of punishing the Bhushans, however, carries the risk of putting the father-son duo on a pedestal, and training the spotlight on their allegations when the issue of judicial corruption finds ready resonance with an expanding constituency. Of all the protests against alleged judicial corruption, the Bhushans’s is easily the most breathtaking, and will play well with the gallery.

Bhushan sought to raise for judiciary the cost of any punishment to him, by saying that he was ready to face the consequences. “The applicant will 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,” he said.In his application, the former law minister spoke of both the growing corruption in judiciary as well as the tendency to sweep it under the carpet in the name of protecting judiciary’s reputation. A defiant Bhushan claimed that two former CJIs were among the sources of his information on corruption among their peers. “In fact, two former CJIs 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 CJIs are included in the list of corrupt CJIs,” Bhushan said. “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 the evil,” he added.

“It is a common perception that whenever such efforts are made by anyone, the judiciary tries to target him by the use of the power to contempt. It is the reputation of the judge which is his shield against any malicious and false allegations against him. He does not need the power of contempt to protect his reputation and credibility,” Bhushan further said.

Proceedings against Prashant were initiated on a petition filed by amicus curiae Harish Salve accusing the former of making contemptuous remarks against CJI S H Kapadia and former CJIs. Besides, Bhushan Jr had also told a web newspaper that half of the last 16 former CJIs were corrupt. His father, Shanti Bhushan said, “Since the applicant (Shanti Bhushan) is publicly stating that out of the last 16 CJIs, eight of them were definitely corrupt, he also needs to be added as a respondent to this contempt petition so that he is also suitably punished for this contempt.” Corruption in judiciary had taken firm root in the last two to three decades, Bhushan said while deploring persistent attempts to cover up in the belief that such charges might tarnish the image of the judiciary. Assailing the Supreme Court’s decision in 1991 in the Justice Veeraswamy case restraining probe agencies from registering FIR against any judge without the permission of the CJI, Bhushan said this had resulted in total immunity to corrupt judges and caused judicial corruption to increase by leaps and bounds.

Read more: Eight chief justices were corrupt: Ex-law minister – The Times of India

8 Responses

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  1. manzoor said, on September 17, 2010 at 08:30

    Corruption is also rampant in high court of jammu and kashmir,number of past chief justice barring few have indulged in corrupt practices,recent example being appoinitment scnadal which needs to be probed so that truth would come to surface

  2. Venkatesh P. Dalwai said, on September 18, 2010 at 21:32

    Real shocker from Mr Shanti Bhusahn but too late in a day to act becuase all of them are not holding office any more. Question is why did wise man chose to name Former CJIs now after so many years, is it because his son is involved in the contempt proceedings. Why did he not act when he was Law Minister or when some CJI disclosed him about so called corrupt judges. When he came to know earlier how did his soul allow him to have sound sleep for so many years or was he indirect beneficiary. Point of cleaning Judiciary is well taken however wise man ought to have exercised selaf-restraint against disclosing stale information now and accusing some of the former CJIs who can not publically defend themselves especially where public are awaiting for some breaking news everyday. Further if the information was in the sealed cover then who leaked it to press about the names. Some times being wise and not acting in the required time creates bonafides of the claim as happened now.

  3. OSURI DEVENDRA PHANIKAR said, on September 21, 2010 at 01:16

    Article 19 of the constitution of India conferred on every citizen of the country the right to express thier opinions freely.That is what Prashant Bhushan did.Corruption need not be finacial.But doing undue favour to a corrupt bureacrat and indulging in judicial burial of his disproportionate assets will also amount to corruption.It is more dangerous than finacial corruption.It is a uphill task and almost impossible to prove corruption in judiciary.We shall have to go by the doctrine that there will be no smoke without fire.People say that there is more corruption in AP High court than in any other place.That is just comonsense and prudence only.Shree Shanthi Bhusan,the most celebrated advocate in the country will never allow Prashanth Bhushan to faulter.

  4. Emperor said, on September 27, 2010 at 12:24

    If the people who do the justice itself are corrupt then whom to trust now ?

  5. Ganesh pa. said, on September 28, 2010 at 20:10

    It is very important issue to show the administration of Indian Judiciary in India and attitude of highly profiled indians. Of course, we should be appreciated the work of the ex-law minister of India to give a contact certificate for former chief Justices of India. If he did the work of an issuing the contact Certificates to the former chief Justices of India before matter of his son he could be proved his social responsibility without selfishness.

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