The High Court’s observation against the corruption of the judiciary, especially judges, in a case involving abandoned property is a milestone. In the history of the last 50 years, this was the first time that such a bold and strong statement was made against the corruption committed by the judges. The two authors of the judgment along with the entire Supreme Court should be congratulated for this.
With deep confidence and conviction, we would like to assume that such an anti-corruption attitude is an expression of the mind of all sincere judges. Though it may sound unpleasant, but frank expressions like ‘sale of judgment’ or ‘unscrupulous, rotten and corrupt judges will slowly destroy good judges’ were expected earlier. But it is better late than never.
The perception of the court is very realistic that the people get angry and upset and search for alternatives if there is no justice in the court and if 'justice' is tainted by corruption. The court has also identified the root cause of the society becoming so dependent on terror and muscle power. The court said that the people want justice from bullies and ‘mafia leaders’ as the court does not deliver justice.
However, all the concerned in the state must take proper steps, in keeping with the steps identified in the observation. The beginning of some of these significant steps is in the hands of the judiciary. But we have observed with concern that whenever the name of any judge has come up or been hinted at, sensitivity has been displayed by the judiciary. The main responsibility now lies with the judiciary to make it clear that speaking or reporting over the corruption of the judiciary on the basis of specific evidence is not the same as ‘scandalising the court’.
Another crucial opinion of the court is, “News was discussed in the society and among the intellectual circles and published in the media seeking independence of the judiciary. But no specific or clear report, writing or research on how to throw the corrupt judges away from the lower courts to the higher ones was visible.” In this case, we need to clarify our position as a media.
The constitution specifically rests the power to conduct the preliminary investigations into the corruption of the lower court judges and to recommend their removal if proven guilty with the High Court. But for years, we have seen that the High Court division has been slow and unconcerned regarding the investigations into the corruption of the lower court judges. And we have not been able to practice such freedom of expression to say the higher court judges are involved in corruption. From that consideration, this verdict has opened an unprecedented opportunity to open the eyes of all concerned and to make them introspect.
Prior to the 16th amendment, the Supreme Judicial Council headed by the chief justice and the next two senior justices had been inactive for almost several decades. The rules of procedure for the council itself have not even been introduced. It is natural that there would be an impact of this on the higher courts. The council has been revived by repealing the 16th amendment. A year ago, two justices were deservedly suspended for writing ‘judgment’ through corruption. But the process did not proceed further. It is imperative to end such situation.