Corruption in Judiciary – UPSC GS2

Context: Former Chief Justice of India said that corruption has become an acceptable way of life in the Judiciary.
Previous judgements against scandalisation of Judiciary:
  • R. vs Almon case, 1765:
    • The court observed that “whenever men’s allegiance to the law is fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal and most dangerous obstruction of justice and calls out for a more rapid and immediate redress”.
  • Brahma Prakash Sharma vs State of U.P., 1953:
    • The Constitution Bench held that “It would be only repeating what has been said so often by various Judges that the object of contempt proceedings is not to afford protection to Judges, personally from imputations to which they may be exposed as individuals; it is intended to be a protection to the public whose interests would be very much affected if by the act or conduct of any party, the authority of the court is lowered and the sense of confidence which people have in the administration of justice by it is weakened.”
  • Prashant Bhushan case, 2020:
    • The Supreme Court found the advocate guilty of shaking the confidence of the public in the institution as a whole and for creating an impression that Judges who presided in the Supreme Court in the period of last six years have a particular role in the destruction of Indian democracy.
    • Court held that “it is not expected of a person who is a part of the system of administration of justice and who owes a duty to the said system, to make comments which are capable of shaking the confidence of the general public”.
Controversies around the office of CJI:
  • The Chief Justice is the Master of the Roster and he alone has the right to constitute benches of the Court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted.
  • The powers of CJI have been controversial and have come under criticism in the past.
  • We have seen in the past that decisions running into crores of rupees have been made in questionable circumstances.
Need for action:
  • Crony capitalism is a curse to the nation.
  • The Supreme Court has come down heavily on corruption in public life and has directed time and again that action be taken against bureaucrats and politicians found guilty of corruption.
  • The judiciary must be fiercely independent and free from any kind of influence.
  • The comments of the former CJI has a huge impact on the reputation of the institution.

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