Eight chief justices were corrupt: Ex-law minister
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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 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Eight-chief-justices-were-corrupt-Ex-law-minister/articleshow/6568723.cms#ixzz0zkIEOMsj
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