“Declare all corrupt judicial officials anti-nationals”. This statement was not made by a political leader or by someone on social media. The observation was by the Madras High Court during the hearing of a writ petition on Wednesday.
Justice SM Subramaniam was considering a petition challenging the prolonged suspension of a village administrative officer (VAO) in Tamil Nadu involved in a criminal offence when he spoke against the inherent and normalised state of corruption in India.
“Every common man, in our great nation, is facing corruption from his/her birth to death. Bribing the public authorities start right from the child in mother’s womb. Even for getting the benefits of government welfare schemes, people have to bribe the public officials,” observed Justice Subramaniam.
While dismissing the plea of the (VAO) accused of corruption, Justice Subramaniam observed that the judiciary, too, is not exempted from corruption.
He said, “Corrupt judicial officers are to be declared as anti-nationals, so also the public servants. They are anti-nationals because they are obstructing the developmental activities of our great nation.”
Justice Subramaniam went on to observe, “Terrorists are declared as anti-social elements. Thus, persons corrupt and acting against the developmental activities of our great nation are also to be declared as anti-nationals.”
The High Court judge further stated, “These anti-nationals do not care about the development of our Great Nation. They are interested in their self-development alone. Nothing wrong to become a rich. However, the process of being adopted for achieving one's ambition or goal must be through the way, which would not affect the interest of our nation and, also would not infringe the rights of all other co-citizen.”
‘Corruption tantamount to denial of rights’
While criticising the corrupt ways of the public officials, Justice Subramaniam noted that corruption tantamounts to denial of one’s rights. Drawing instances from various walks of life, Justice Subramaniam said that a pregnant woman has to bribe hospital staff and doctors to get basic medical treatment and that different amounts are taken as bribes from men and women.
“Even in examinations, evaluation of answer sheets, providing internal marks, everywhere, bribe to the officials are common,” he added.
Making a critical note of the sexual favours demanded in lieu of bribe in educational institutions and public offices, Justice Subramaniam added that the worst form of corruption happens at the burial ground.
“Unless the public servant in the burial ground maintained by the state or local bodies are bribed, the dead body will not get appropriate timings for burial. The right of decent burial is also denied,” he stated.
Justice Subramaniam also equated the minority of non-corrupt with ‘Pandavas’, and the majority corrupt with 'Kauravas'. “This Court is of the fond hope that the minority non-corrupt will certainly win the battle against the corruption...,” he said.
“Though cases are booked and corrupt officials are prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, such actions are a mole in the mountain. Large scale corruptions are, though noticed, not prosecuted. For that also, bribes are offered,” he pointed out.
He also pointed out that a state must establish a sound and sufficient Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Wings for the effective and efficient implementation of Anti-Corruption laws.