In a recently concluded high-profile corruption case involving a prominent politician (Mr Bangaru Laxman, ex-President of a political party) of India, the Court said that in corruption cases the court had to act as an activist institution, which is “cynosure of public hope”.
I thought that was a hugely significant remark by the Court. In India today, the Supreme Court is the only recourse for securing public justice in the absence of a clear and fair government decision-making mechanism.
The Supreme Court, and in this specific case, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) Court, have performed a very important public service in stipulating that they will indeed be driven by value systems and fair principles of justice while convicting corrupt individuals. In the past, this was a challenge as there was always political interference in allowing corruption cases to proceed. It is important to recognize that things are surely changing for the better in India, and the Courts are playing a huge role in ensuring justice is delivered.
I am not happy to note that in this specific case it took 11 years to deliver justice, all the more sad when it involved national security issues. When the government and the bureaucracy are weak and when politicians are controlling bureaucracy, it is only natural that things get enormously delayed. Unfortunately, the issues in specific corruption cases disappear from peoples’ minds and media, and that is exactly what the politicians and the political parties wish for. Justice delayed is justice denied. The losers are the Indian people in corruption cases.
The Court awarded four years’ rigorous imprisonment to a 72-year old politician in this case combined with a fine, sending a strong message to the politicians that graft will not go unpunished. This required strong investigation by the CBI which did its job well and this shows that when there is non-interference and when the institutions are headed by professionals, it is possible to achieve progress against corruption.
Special CBI judge Kanwaljeet Arora said the 72 year-old politician, who was convicted on Friday under the Prevention of Corruption Act was guilty of “ignoring the security of soldiers” who put their lives in danger while fighting for the nation. The judge said “corruption is worse than prostitution”, and asserted “we have to shun this attitude of ‘sab chalta hai,’ and the attitude that nothing can move without corruption”. [Source: Times of India dated 29th April 2012].
The people of this country have to protest corruption in any form and not be complicit in acts of corruption, and such convictions help convince millions of Indian as to the unambiguous position of the Courts of Law when it comes to corruption scandals. This is a very positive development.
Imagine what is going through the minds of the politicians and businessmen waiting to be convicted in the telecom “2G” scandal !
Let us fight against corruption of any sort.
29th April 2012