Mathews J Nedumpara
The allegation that Justice B S Indrakala, judge of Karnataka High Court gave a bribe of Rs. 8.5 crore for securing the post of Governor is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. Corruption in judiciary is a reality. It is rampant, maybe even of a greater scale than in other departments of the government. I happen to be back in Kerala High Court after a gap of almost 20 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To my utter shock even the Kerala High Court had changed. A number of allegations were brought to my notice. They wanted me to raise these issues. But the lawyers who brought the issue to me were not willing to lend their name. To take up judicial corruption is an extremely risky venture for the media is hesitant, so too the police/government. One cannot expect support even from the Bar because the Bar and the Bench after all is a very closely connected society. And further for a variety of reasons I too have decided, at least for the time being, not to take up corruption naming individuals. It is not my personal decision alone. It is the decision of the NLC.
When we sought the registration of an FIR on the Kalicopul suicide note naming the immediate relatives of Justice Khehar, Justice Deepak Mishra and politicians like Kapil Sibal, the ASG instead of supporting us wanted the Delhi High Court to initiate contempt proceedings against us. We were spared because the court realized the folly of initiating contempt proceedings against large number of persons for there were 11 petitioners. The court imposed a cost of Rs. 25,000 each. We were at risk because we don’t have “131 eminent men and 8 retired Supreme Court judges” in our pocket.
Article 14 has been ‘interred with its bones’. The ‘law of the land’ is that no FIR can be registered for an offence under IPC, nay, even of murder, not to speak of a judge, nay, even of kinship, because the Supreme Court in Veera Swami’s case (1995) held that it cannot be done without the permission of the CJI!
The situation is not going to improve, nay, it is going to be worse. The covid pandemic made the executive extremely weak. And the judges have been taking full advantage of the position, on a higher moral pedestal. How the executive is scared of the judiciary and feels the need to protect itself from the wrath of the judiciary accountable to none is evident from the booking of 100 rooms in Hotel Ashoka in Delhi for the covid treatment of the judges and their families. I believe the upright men and women within the higher judiciary alone can save it from further ruin, so too the members of the Bar who are willing to invite the enmity of the Bench for calling a spade a spade.