Indian Supreme Court Faces Crisis After Retired Judge Found Guilty Of Corruption
One of the most controversial cases a country’s government tackles is the case of corruption. In almost every country, we hear cases of corrupt government officials exploiting the position for their own personal and greedy interests, when it’s supposed to be allotted for a government project. What’s awful about corruption cases is the horrible reality that although an official may be found guilty, there’s no way to revert back or return the money back to the people.
This also puts a damp to the never-ending projects that are still pending, making the people suffer for more years instead of reaping the benefits of paying their duties accordingly. That is why the High court makes sure to penalize these guilty corrupt officials and serve justice to its people as much as possible, but what if the corrupt official found guilty is a judge who’s supposed to handle cases of corruption? It’s unfortunate that the Indian Supreme Court is facing this constitutional crisis after its ex-judge was found guilty of corruption.
Senior Lawyers In India claim that the High Court is now Facing Crisis Because of a Retired Judge Accused of Corruption
The retired Judge IM Quddusi was accused of conspiracy to bribe the Supreme Court justices and influence their decisions over several court cases. In exchange for money, they got to influence any decision-making and favor those corporations or influential public figures, thus, overriding the magnitude of physical and circumstantial evidence as well as the rule of law. Quddusi was arrested last September along with five others for the involvement in judiciary bribe ring and corruption. However, the authorities had failed to disclose which among other justices were included in the bribery.
Aside from the retired judge facing a criminal and civil case, the lawyers of India are also criticizing the presiding Supreme Court justice Dipak Misra, for intervening and presiding the case of the retired judge. The lawyers fear that since they are colleagues, Misra might be able to influence the court’s decision and affirm his dismissal or “non-guilty” over the corruption case filed against him.
Moreover, the Indian lawyers are skeptical about Justice Misra’s sincerity and neutrality to preside the case, since allegations also popped up that the current justice was among the five members who received bribery from Quddusi himself. Both justices had yet to comment about the said allegations.
Questions About How the Judiciary System Will Handle Such Case Causes an Uproar in India
Not only that the Judiciary’s credibility is at stake, but lawyers are also concerned about how this case would turn out. That’s why, in order to avoid more controversies and restore back the people’s trust to the constitution, a petition was filed by a legal reform, asking the high court to abstain from handling the case and instead, the government will form an independent body to preside the case. The petition was submitted last Wednesday before the second chief justice, Jasti Chelameswar. The court justice scheduled then a hearing about the said case on Monday this week (November 13, 2017). It was also stated in the memorandum that chief justice Misra would abstain from participating and making decisions about the case.
However, in a hearing ruled two days after, the chief justice overrode Chelameswar‘s decision and postponed the hearing for this week. He reiterated that as a chief justice, he has the power alone to decide the schedule as well as the roster of the Supreme Court’s hearings. One of the lawyer proponents behind the petition vehemently argued about the chief justice’s decision that also led to a chaotic affair last Friday.
Bhushan later tweeted that the chief justice was guilty of “very serious misconduct”. “He has violated basic principle of natural justice, that you can’t be judge in your own cause,” he said.
Developing Story About the Ongoing Judicial Crisis in India
Just yesterday, the Supreme Court had also junked the petition to refer the retired judge to an independent, investigative team. The Supreme Court has reiterated that they will handle the case with utmost dignity and neutrality, even claiming that the suggestions of possible biased decisions were “derogatory and contemptuous”. The decision of the Supreme Court only seemed to draw ire from several Indian lawyers who couldn’t help but make a statement about it.
PV Dinesh, a supreme court advocate for 2 decades, said the controversy was concerning. “It has shaken public confidence in the Indian judicial system, in which the Indian public has put enormous faith, and which many Indians consider their last resort,” he said.
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