Justice Katju ups the heat on judicial corruption with a new blog post. Justice Katju's revelations paint a scary picture about the state of our judiciary at a time when public impatience over denial of justice due to cases that drag on for decades
Justice Markandey Katju's latest blog makes even more startling revelations about judicial corruption and the reluctance of a former chief justice to act, for fear of damaging the reputation of the judiciary. The new revelations about five judges in the Allahabad High Court expose the extent of the rot in the system.
On Sunday, 10th August, Justice Katju wrote on his blog, “Most Chief Justices of India are reluctant to expose corruption in the judiciary thinking that this will defame the judiciary, and so they prefer to bury corruption under the carpet, not realizing that the bulge under the carpet will show.”
Here is the story he narrates: There was a Judge in a High Court who had a very bad reputation about his integrity, and on this account was transferred to Allahabad High Court. Later with passage of time he became very senior and Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court. Some people started demanding that he be made Chief Justice of some High Court, and later brought to the Supreme Court.The then Chief Justice of India, Justice Kapadia, had received several complaints about this Judge that even at Allahabad he was indulging in corruption,and Justice Kapadia requested me to find out the true facts about that Judge ( I was then a Judge of the Supreme Court).
At that time I had to go to Allahabad, my home town for attending a function, and while there I contacted some lawyers I knew, and got 3 mobile numbers of the agents of this Judge through whom he was taking money. On returning to Delhi I gave these 3 mobile numbers to Justice Kapadia, and suggested that he get these numbers tapped through intelligence agencies.
About two months thereafter Justice Kapadia told me that he had done as I had suggested, and the conversations tapped revealed the corruption of this Judge.
After this, Justice Kapadia should have called this Judge to Delhi and asked for his resignation, failing which he would refer the matter to Parliament for impeachment, but he did no such thing,(though he did not allow the Judge to become Chief Justice of any High Court or a Supreme Court Judge). Criticising the inaction and reluctance to act against judicial corruption, he says, "Does corruption by Judges defame the judiciary, or does exposing such corruption defame it ?".
The blog goes on to narrate another episode: When I was Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court I went to Delhi and met Justice Lahoti, the then Chief Justice of india, and gave him a chit containing names of five judges of Allahabad High Court who were doing shocking things. Justice Lahoti asked me what should be done ? I replied that if he permitted, I would solve the problem in 24 hours. He asked, how ?
I replied that I was going back to Allahabad by the night train, and on reaching there would call the Registrar General and tell him to telephone these 5 Judges, and tell them that the Chief Justice had instructed that they would not be allowed entry into the High Court premises. Police was being posted at the gate of the High Court with instruction from me that these judges were not to be allowed entry. Their chambers had been locked, and they will receive their salary checks at home, and they need not come to the High Court. I did not want to see them inside the High Court premises as they had disgraced the High Court.
When I said this Justice Lahoti said "Please do not do this, because then the politicians will get a handle, and then they will set up a National Judicial Commission". I replied that since he was not permitting me to do this, I would not, but he may take whatever action he thought fit.
Later some of the five judges whose names I gave were transferred to another High Court.
But is transfer a solution ? Such corrupt judges should be sacked, but this is not done to ' avoid defaming the judiciary'. I again ask : does corruption by Judges defame the judiciary, or does exposing such corruption defame it ?
Predictably, the judges, even retired ones aren't happy with Justice Katju's revelations. Justice Kapadia, former chief justice of India has apparently denied knowledge of the episode that Justice Katju cites. But clearly, the whistleblower is on the warpath and the public is delighted that a senior judge of the supreme court is on their side.
In yet another blog post today, Justice Katju has rebutted ex-CJI Kapadia's denials. He says, “In response to my statement Justice Kapadia has said that he did not remember this. It is strange that he has no recollection of this, but the record would be existing with the intelligence agency concerned, and perhaps also in the official file of the Chief Justice.
Justice Kapadia also said that he did not bring any Judge to the Supreme Court who was unfit.
I may remind him that the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by CJI KG Balakrishnan, and of which Justice Kapadia was a member, almost succeeded in bringing a totally unfit person into the Supreme Court. That Judge was a Judge of the Madras High Court when I was Chief Justice there, so I knew all about his bad reputation. Later, he was made Chief Justice of another High Court , and was being considered for elevation to the Supreme court.
One day during lunch interval, I went to Justice Kapadia's chamber and told him about the bad reputation of that Judge, giving details. I told him that I was not in the Supreme Court Collegium, but he was, and now it was for him to do whatever he thinks proper, and I have done my duty. There was no use informing Justice Balakrishnan since it was he who was pushing for the Judge's elevation to the Supreme Court.
After listening to me, Justice Kapadia thanked me, and said that in future also if I have such information I should pass it on to him.
Despite this, the Collegium, of which Justice Kapadia was a member, recommended the name of that Judge having questionable integrity, and he would have definitely been elevated to the Supreme Court but for the Tamilnadu lawyers who produced voluminous documentary evidence of his corruption. As a result, he was transferred to a small High Court, and later impeachment proceedings were brought against him in Parliament, which lapsed when he resigned.
So Justice Kapadia's claim that he did not bring any corrupt Judge to the Supreme Court, has to be qualified by at least one instance where he ( or rather the Collegium of which he was a member) almost succeeded.
It may be further mentioned that even though I had informed Justice Kapadia about that Judge's reputation, neither the Collegium, nor Justice KG Balakrishnan ever consulted me about that Judge. I should have been consulted, as the decision in the Judges case says, since I was on the bench of the Madras High Court ( as Chief Justice ) at the time that Judge was also in the Madras High Court. Instead, Justice Ravindran was consulted, although Justice Ravindran and that Judge were never in any High Court at the same time. This was obviously done by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan knowing that if consulted I would give an adverse report . But why did Justice Kapadia not tell Justice Balakrishnan to consult me ?
Much later I met Justice Kapadia and reminded him that I had informed him about the bad reputation of that Judge, but no heed was paid to my words. I said that the Supreme Court could have been saved so much embarrassment if my advice had been sought. Justice Kapadia admitted that I had informed him, but said that Justice Balakrishnan, the CJI, was adamant, and so the recommendation was made.”
Justice Katju's posts are bound to provoke much debate in the media, but it seems safe to say that the people of India will overwhelmingly back his boldness in letting the sunlight on to how corruption is buried by the judiciary, which hands out punishment to the rest of India for the very same offences that they get away with.
US health authorities had admitted that Ebola's spread beyond west Africa was inevitable. Even medical charity Doctors Without Borders had warned that the deadly virus was now "out of control" with more than 60 outbreak hotspots
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday declared the killer Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of west Africa as an international health emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries.
The decision after a two-day emergency session behind closed doors in Geneva means global travel restrictions may be put in place to halt its spread as the overall death toll nears 1,000.
The WHO move comes as US health authorities admitted that Ebola's spread beyond west Africa was "inevitable", and after medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the deadly virus was now "out of control" with more than 60 outbreak hotspots.
WHO director Dr Margaret Chan appealed for greater international aid for the countries worst hit by the outbreak, which she described as the most serious in four decades, echoing an earlier claim by MSF that the "epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution, people infected and deaths".
States of emergency were in effect across overwhelmed west African nations, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Soldiers in Liberia's Grand Cape Mount province - one of the worst-affected areas - set up road blocks to limit travel to the capital Monrovia, as bodies reportedly lay unburied in the city's streets.
Two towns in the east of Sierra Leone, Kailahun and Kenema, where put under quarantine on Thursday, as nightclubs and entertainment venues across the country were ordered shut.
Public sector doctors in Nigeria suspended a month-long strike with fears rising that the virus is taking hold in sub- Saharan Africa's most populous country. The deadly disease has already killed two and infected five others in Lagos.
Ebola has claimed at least 932 lives and infected more than 1,700 people since breaking out in Guinea earlier this year, according to the WHO.
Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding. It is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.
First discovered in 1976 and named after a river in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola has killed around two-thirds of those infected, with two outbreaks registering fatality rates approaching 90%. The latest outbreak has a fatality rate of around 55%.
There is no specific treatment for the disease; efforts to help persons who are infected include giving either oral rehydration therapy (slightly sweet and salty water to drink) or intravenous fluids. The disease has high mortality rate: often killing between 50% and 90% of those infected with the virus, says Wikipedia.
According to Nomura, vegetable prices continue to climb during July and these one-off price shocks have become too frequent to be ignored
In India, retail vegetable prices, which were largely contained until June, have rocketed during July. Vegetable prices rose 37% month-on-month in July 2014 compared with an average of 20% during FY11 to FY13. According to Nomura, these one-off price shocks have become too frequent to be ignored.
"This is not demand-pull inflation, so the government needs to take measures to improve the vegetable supply chain. If such supply shocks become too frequent, as appears to be the case, then they can start to have a lasting effect on inflation expectations," Nomura said in a research note.
Nomura said it believes that higher vegetable prices have not yet had any spillover effect on other food or core prices, i.e. this is not a broad-based rise. However, it said it expect higher vegetable prices to push headline CPI inflation to 8.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in July (due 12th August) compared with 7.3% in June.
"This uptick (in average vegetable prices) has continued during the first week of August as well. The rise in vegetable prices this fiscal year (April to date) is starting to outpace last year's acceleration, which was a 'one-off' rise. If the current pace continues, then the anticipated moderation in CPI inflation in second half of 2014 on account of the favourable base effect may disappear," Nomura added.