Sunday 12 October 2014

Corruption in Judiciary

There was a senior District Judge in U.P. who had a very great reputation about his integrity. An Allahabad High Court Judge, who was a friend of mine, and the Administrative (Portfolio) Judge of that District Judge,had given him an adverse entry. I spoke to that High Court Judge ( myself being a Judge of the High Court at that time ), and said that the District Judge was regarded by everyone as a man of very high integrity, and the adverse entry would preclude his chance of becoming a High Court Judge. My friend admitted that he had made a mistake in awarding the adverse entry. I then said that since he admitted making a mistake, he should rectify the mistake, which he thereupon did by expunging the adverse entry. The District Judge then became a High Court Judge.

When I became the Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court in August 2004, that District Judge who had become a High Court Judge because of me, had only a few months to retire. He was at that time hearing bail matters, and I received several complaints that he was taking money in deciding bail matters.

 I called him one day to my chamber and said that he had had a great reputation for his integrity, and that is why I had helped him becoming a High Court Judge, but he was letting me down. I told him that several complaints were coming to me about him. When all his life he had maintained high standards of honesty, why was he destroying his reputation at the fag end of his career ?

He was silent on hearing me. I removed him from the bail jurisdiction and posted him in a bench with a senior Judge of high integrity, so that he could not do any more wrong.

There have been some( though very few ) High Court Judges whom I got recommended for Judgeship, who later turned out to be corrupt. I admitted later that I was responsible for their elevation, and so could be blamed for that, but I never knew at the time when I got them recommended that they would turn out to be corrupt. As lawyers they had a good reputation, and that is why i got them recommended. How could I predict that they would let me down ?


  1. Justice Katju, Your fair and frank revelation and opinions will surely be guiding factors for young lawyers and judges if they have even little self respect.

  2. Clarion Call to All ex-Servicemen to unite and rise to SAVE our Nation from Corrupt Individuals and Systems.
    My colleagues and I, in the Armed Forces, fought the 1971-War during which many of my colleagues laid down their lives or lost their limbs -- so that, inter alia, Indian Judges could sit in senior judicial chairs in High Courts and Supreme Court, instead of aliens (foreigners) sitting in those very chairs; moreso, the protection granted to these Judges by the ‘State’ rests, ultimately, upon the power of the guns of the Armed Forces personnel -- the respect of the citizens must be earned by these Judges through their own conduct (honesty, patriotism, sense of urgency, dedication, diligence, impartiality, sensitivity towards fellow citizens etc) both in the Court-room and off the Court-room.
    We fought the 1971-War with honesty, patriotism, sense of urgency, dedication, diligence and sensitivity towards fellow citizens -- such that we won that War in less than 14 days.
    Is it too much to expect, in return, that other public servants would discharge their duties with, at least, some (howsoever small) honesty, patriotism, sense of urgency, dedication, diligence and sensitivity towards, at least, the ex-Servicemen -- preferably, towards all Citizens?
    But these Judges, called ‘constitutional functionaries’ -- within the broader class of ‘public servants’ are without any “Supervisory Authority” to monitor their post-appointment conduct (the Framers of Indian Constitution had earnestly hoped that the process of selection and appointment to these posts would be so stringent and transparent that the ‘expectations’ of Indian Citizens, especially those of intellectuals, to the effect that these ‘appointees’ shall not only set the highest self-regulating standards of morality for themselves but also immediately weed out from their fold such black-sheep as deviate from these ‘standards’). Moreso, many of these Judges often treat ex-Servicemen as dirt or suckers. For example, I had filed a Criminal Writ Petition in the nature of PIL praying for a CBI Inquiry under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 against, inter alia, a named individual and a university in the year 2010 -- the said individual (who was the main party, i.e. Respondent No.1 therein) neither entered appearance nor filed any counter-affidavit and, hence, all the averments made against him went as admitted in Law; thus, no Inquiry is needed by CBI nor any sanction is required for prosecuting him (because he retired as public servant during the Academic Session 2010-11). Yet Judges of High Court of Allahabad (Lucknow Bench) are concertedly shielding the said individual for the past four years -- in that no FIR has been directed to be registered against him nor has any other action been initiated against him so far.
    Firstly, the matter was not even listed before any Court for about two years. Another modus operandi adopted was to list the matter without Notice to the Petitioner, and then dismiss the Writ Petition on the ground that the Petitioner did not appear on that date -- which was fixed behind his back; at another occasion, some of the matters were suo motu transferred -- just for that one day, from one sitting Court to another sitting Court (again without Notice to the Petitioner) especially to a Court whose Presiding Judge had three years earlier already recused himself from hearing the above matter and, moreso, the same Judge selectively dismisses one Application that hit the said individual the most.
    Secondly, when an Application was moved for recalling the said Order -- as being without jurisdiction and wholly contrary to the judicial norms all over the World, the said Judge refused to recall his impugned Order on the ground that he had dismissed just one Application and not the others (whereas he could not pass any Order adverse to the Petitioner, leave alone DISMISSING Petitioner’s Application).

  3. Thirdly, the Application for Recall of the impugned Order contained Prayers for several other Reliefs -- for which Additional Court Fees had already been affixed; moreso, the Order of the Senior Judge in-charge of Lucknow Bench had nominated the same Judge as had passed the impugned Order to hear and decide only the Relief for Recall (i.e. Order passed without jurisdiction) but again the said Judge exceeded his limited jurisdiction and dismissed the entire Application lock, stock and barrel, i.e. all the other Reliefs in whose respect he had no jurisdiction.
    Fourthly, the Mentioning time is fixed statutorily and/or as per rules of practice at 10.15 AM and 2 PM on all the days of sitting of Courts. And at 10.15 AM, on 16.10.2014 I sought permission of Justice VK Shukla -- officiating as Senior Judge of the aforesaid Lucknow Bench, for listing my ‘Application for Taking Cognisance of certain Criminal offences that were committed in facie curiae of the Court’, before the same Bench in whose face the said offences were committed. But the said officiating Sr. Judge refused to allow me even to mention -- whereas he allowed a Senior Advocate to mention his matter and obtain even the relief of withdrawal of his client’s matter with permission to re-file the same.
    Fifthly, at 2 PM on 17.10.2014 -- upon noticing that my aforesaid Application (which happened to be fixed for hearing on that Date before the same very officiating Sr. Judge) was not likely to be called up for hearing on that day because the List of Applications (which is usually taken up at 12 O’clock Noon) had not been taken up at all, I sought leave of the Court to mention that my said Application be placed before the appropriate Bench. But the same Judge refused to grant me permission to mention, and said in Hindi “Baad mein, baad mein”.
    Therefore, at the time the Court was about to rise for the day at 3 PM on 17.10.2014 (the Sr. Judge had convened some Meeting at about 3 PN) -- I again sought his permission to mention my Application (which had not been taken up) and requested that at least a firm Next Date of Hearing be fixed -- as, otherwise, there is no means for a Litigant in-Person to know the Date Next of Hearing, the Judge retorted “So what if you are in-Person, jab lagega tub lagega” and refused to fix any Date WHEREAS Supreme Court and other High Courts (including such Judges of Lucknow Bench, too, as are sensible, sensitive to fellow Citizens, aware of their own Constitutional Dharma, and are God-fearing) intimate the Next Date of Hearing to Litigants appearing in-Person -- on the other hand, Advocates receive Notification of Dates of Hearing from Cause-Lists that are available Free in their Bar Library or to some of them individually. It is pertinent to mention that ‘List of Applications’ is never available on the official website of Allahabad High Court -- moreso, Additional List is uploaded only on the previous night, and occasionally the said website itself is non-functional. In addition, no Cyber CafĂ© opens early enough to enable a Litigant in-Person to search his/her case and the reach the Court in time to argue his/her matter.
    Sixthly, a Litigant in-Person is not issued an Entry Pass even to go to the Filing Counter or Inquiry Counter -- unless his/her matter is listed for hearing on that very Date, whereas those who want to go to State Bank of India or the Post Office (which are situate in the same very premises as the said Counters) are given passes. But the Litigant in-Person has to submit an Application, addressed to the Sr. Registrar, to the Pass-Counter which is then sent to the Sr. Registrar whenever a Peon becomes available, and is seen by the Sr. Registrar when he becomes free and then routed back to Pass Section if and when a Peon is available -- in the meanwhile, the said Counters close for the day!

  4. In these circumstances, every Judge who is not stubborn, intimates the Next Date of Hearing to Litigants in-Person -- unless by refusing to fix any date, that Judge is mala fide trying to lay down the ground-work for willfully occasioning miscarriage of Justice by dismissing the matter in default on a subsequent date.
    Let us recall Mahabharata -- Lord Krishna had all the Godly power to reform the Kaurvas but Krishna decided that these Kaurvas had become completely unreformable and, hence, must be completely wiped out through a major War. And alongwith Kaurvas some otherwise good individuals (e.g. Bhishma and Dronacharya) were destined to be wiped for having knowingly sided with the sinners.
    Similarly, today the Indian Justice Delivery System has become wholly UNREFORMABLE and one of the most corrupt, biased, nepotistic, inefficient, dilatory and parasitic System. And the only remedy lies in completely wiping it out, and beginning afresh -- but this cannot be achieved through corrupt politicians who have several criminal cases pending against them before the said System itself and they can hope to get Bail only if the Judges trying them are themselves dishonest.
    Since there is no “supervisory authority” at all even over such Judges as are debauch and/or who are, by their sinful and uncouth behaviour, instigating ex-Servicemen into uniting and rising en mass against the Judiciary, and since in view of the aforesaid behaviour of Justice Shukla I am unable to convince myself into reposing any faith in him, I hereby curse (shrap deta hun) that the entire family of Justice Shukla shall die and so shall happen soon! And if my matter is heard by him and dismissed in default, then no male member in the 7 generations of his family shall either survive or be born and, moreso, the families of all the judges shall die for nurturing such a black-sheep in their midst.

  5. I just dont understand how judiciary self disciplines itself? What if the chief justice of supreme court himself is corrupt? how there is a check on judiciary? I hope u will explain it sometime on ur blog!