The Indian government’s green channel for the corrupt
The government of India allows corruption. How else could it have become the scourge that it has today? The Prime Minister may be thinking of removing a happy clause in the law, happy for the thieves that is. A clause supposedly put there to protect public servants from wrongful harassment which blatantly helps crooks.
Government departments and ministries have been misusing a constitutional provision (Article 311) in which the CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) has to seek prosecution sanction from the government before beginning a formal probe against allegedly corrupt officials.
This law has a colonial tint. A seed planted then used by our own lawmakers during the drafting of the anti-corruption act. The clause has opened a floodgate for the corrupt with scores of officials escaping prosecution because of it. No one wants seems to have the will to get rid of it. At least not our elected representatives.
A politician suspected of corruption simply pulls a few strings and the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commission (that a person should be prosecuted) is ignored! In other words the government has laid out a red carpet for the thieves.
The facts and figures read like a horror story. Since 2004, in almost a thousand cases, the government ignored the findings of the CVC. In some cases, the accused have been “exonerated” without proper inquiry! You name the ministry and you can be sure that it has disregarded the advice given by the CVC, at some point of time. Whether it’s the Indian Railways or the Municipal corporations of different cities, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry or the Department of Telecom, public sector companies like the Delhi Development Authority or Oil India Ltd. And this is counting just those who were caught.
The funny thing is that the Supreme Court has interpreted the law differently! It has said twice, once last year and once this year, that the CVC need not take the sanction of the government to prosecute. It can go ahead on its own!
Supreme Court today ruled that prior sanction was not required for the prosecution of public servants, including chief ministers and ministers in corruption cases…
Apparently, sanction need not be taken if the wrongdoers do their thieving while on duty. I am not sure what that means, because don’t they all do it during the course of their duty? So what is this, another loophole? What is a layman to make of it? How much more confusing does the government want it to be?
The CVC should just quote this Supreme Court judgment and go ahead with the prosecution don’t you think? But if it doesn’t, it means that there are some factors are play that are not known.
The judiciary does not have a clean record in any case. I found a shocking report which says that in 1991 some Supreme court judges had passed an order that “the Chief Justice’s permission was mandatory for the filing of even a first information report (FIR) against any Judge of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.” The Bench said this even though they “accepted [that] the sanctioning authority for prosecution was none other than the President of India.” Despite accepting this, the judges said that the President “shall act in accordance with advice given by the Chief Justice of India”. Hopefully this order is gathering dust somewhere. Or is it? What is the procedure for prosecuting of a judge? From what I have read, there was a case where a judge was accused and it was the judiciary itself which which set up a committee to look into the matter. I think the CVC should have a say in this, not just the judiciary. The CVC should have the authority to be part of the inquiry commission which decides whether judges should be prosecuted or not.
There was a recent case of the cash-in-bag scam (Punjab and Haryana high courts) and suspicion fell on justice Nirmal Yadav for accepting around 15 lakhs as a bribe. The CBIhandled the case but while the CBI (department) said there was sufficient evidence for her prosecution, the CBI head opposed it! Can anything be more pathetic? He said there was not enough evidence, and he sent his opinion to the attorney general (AG) of India. Guess what? Charges were dropped.
All in all, our corrupt government officials are looting the country or the public, and the government is giving them its blessings.
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