Dares SC To Send Him To Jail For Contempt
Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN | The Times of India, September 17, 2010
New Delhi: Former law minister Shanti Bhushan on Thursday created a sensation in the Supreme Court when he moved an application accusing eight former chief justices of India of “corruption”, and dared it to send him to jail for committing “contempt of court”.
The eight allegedly corrupt CJIs feature in a list of 16 prepared by Bhushan. The list comprises Justices Ranganath Mishra, K N Singh, M H Kania, L M Sharma, M N Venkatachalliah, A M Ahmadi, J S Verma, M M Punchhi, A S Anand, S P Bharucha, B N Kirpal, G B Patnaik, Rajendra Babu, R C Lahoti, V N Khare and Y K Sabharwal.
Terming eight in the list as “definitely corrupt”, Bhushan put their names in a sealed cover, submitted it to the Supreme Court and virtually dared it to open it and read out the contents. He said of the 16 in his list, “six were definitely honest and, about the remaining two, a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt”. The veteran lawyer, who became famous by successfully arguing for setting the election of Indira Gandhi aside in 1975, triggering a chain of events leading to the imposition of Emergency, resorted to the dramatic action in solidarity with his son, lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Prashant is facing contempt charges for accusing CJI S H Kapadia and his predecessors of misconduct. “Make me a party along with Prashant Bhushan,” said Bhushan Senior, who was law minister in the post-Emergency Morarji Desai cabinet, as he challenged the apex court to send him to jail for contempt.
CORRUPTION IN THE Judiciary
Got lead from 2 ex-CJIs, says Shanti Bhushan
New Delhi: Former law minister Shanti Bhushan’s challenge to the Supreme Court to send him to jail for contempt because he had termed eight former CJIs corrupt can put the apex court in a bind. It may be constrained not to ignore the provocation lest it start a trend. The option of punishing the Bhushans (the ex-minister and his son Prashant, who is facing contempt charges), however, carries the risk of putting the father-son duo on a pedestal, and training the spotlight on their allegations when the issue of judicial corruption finds ready resonance with an expanding constituency. Of all the protests against alleged judicial corruption, the Bhushans’ is easily the most breathtaking, and will play well with the gallery.
Bhushan sought to raise for judiciary the cost of any punishment to him, by saying that he was ready to face the consequences. “The applicant will consider it a great honour to spend time in jail for making an effort to get for the people of India an honest and clean judiciary,” he said. In his application, the former law minister spoke of both the growing corruption in judiciary as well as the tendency to sweep it under the carpet in the name of protecting judiciary’s reputation.
A defiant Bhushan claimed that two former CJIs were among sources of his information on corruption among their peers. “In fact, two former CJIs had personally told the applicant while they were in office that their immediate predecessor and immediate successor were corrupt judges. The names of these four CJIs are included in the list of six corrupt CJIs,” Bhushan said.
“It is a common perception that whenever such efforts are made by anyone, the judiciary tries to target him by the use of the power to contempt,” Bhushan added.
Proceedings against Prashant were initiated on a petition filed by amicus curiae Harish Salve accusing the former of making contemptuous remarks against CJI S H Kapadia and former CJIs.
His father, Shanti Bhushan said, “Since the applicant (Shanti Bhushan) is publicly stating that out of the last 16 CJIs, eight of them were definitely corrupt, he also needs to be added as a respondent to this contempt petition so that he is also suitably punished for this contempt.”
Courtesy: The Times of India, September 17, 2010
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