Judiciary also not exempt from corrupt practices: HC calls for frequent surprise visits, inspection in the judicial departments
N Ulagaraj Vs Government of Tamil Nadu
W.P. (MD) No. 16185 of 2012
About/from the judgment:
"Corrupt practices in the judicial system can never be tolerated. It is worse than corruption in public departments...many former Chief Justices had lamented that judiciary is not exempted from corrupt practices."
While confirming the removal of a Tirunelveli Registrar on grounds that he had accepted bribes, the Court called for increasing vigilance measures in judicial departments to guard against corruption in the Judiciary.
While generally commenting on the widespread prevalence of the devil of corruption among the public services and lamenting on how this affects the country's development at the cost of the taxpayers' money, the Judge also acknowledged that the judiciary is not exempt from this evil either.
As noted in the order,
"While making observations regarding the corrupt practices in the Public administration of the Government Departments, this Court has to endorse the fact that the judiciary also is not exempted from corrupt practices. The conscious of this Court would not permit, if this Court fails to mention the increasing corrupt practices in Judiciary Department as well as in Court premises ... It is pertinent to remind that many former Chief Justices of India had lamented that judiciary is not exempted from corrupt practices."
The Court went on to underscore why judicial corruption is particularly worrying.
"Justice requires equal treatment of all the citizen and consistency in the justice delivery system. Corrupt practices in the judicial system can never be tolerated. It is worser than that of the corruption in public departments. Judicial remedy being the last resort to the common man, effective, efficient and impartial judicial system in consonance with the constitutional, philosophy and ethos are to be achieved. Building confidence in the minds of the citizen on the judiciary system is the constitutional mandate. Doubts in the minds of citizen will lead to destruction of the constitutional principles."
Opining that the Judiciary has to strengthen its vigilance wing and that the present vigilance mechanisms are insufficient to crush corrupt practices, the Judge went on to suggest that "frequent surprise visits and inspection in the judicial departments and premises are needed."
However, the Court lamented that efficient measures are yet to be taken on this front. The Judge remarked,
"Unfortunately, efficient measures are yet to be taken to deal with many kinds of corrupt practices in the judicial system. Making observations in the judgment is one aspect of the matter, but, if such findings are taken in a right spirit by the administrators then alone we can see the development of our great nation. Thus, the administrator must have a heart and spirit to take the issues in a right manner and attempts are to be made sincerely to develop an effective and efficient system."
On a broader note, the Court also emphasised:
- The Government of the day is expected to strengthen the Anti-corruption wings.
- Periodical and frequent surprise raids/ inspections are to be conducted in public offices.
- The assets and the liabilities of the department servants are to be periodically verified as the Service Rules require. The Court took critical note that the same has not been maintained properly in many Departments by the Higher Authorities.
- Disproportionate wealth of public servants is to be periodically monitored.
- The genuineness and sanctity of the information provided by public servants are to be properly checked.
- Appropriate instructions/guidelines are to be issued to all the Government Offices. The competent authorities of the Government may also obtain suggestions and expert opinions in the field of Anti-corruption and issue comprehensive instructions to deal with corrupt practices in Public Departments.
- Announcing beneficial schemes alone are insufficient. The implementation of the beneficial schemes must reach the poor and the downtrodden in a hustle-free manner.
The Judge proceeded to direct that a copy of the judgment be communicated to the Chief Secretary of the State and the Registrar General of the Madras High Court, so that "measures to implement the observations of this Court" may be undertaken.
Read the Judgment
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