New Delhi, May 20 (Calcutta Tube) The Supreme Court Thursday regretted not acting firmly earlier in cases of corruption in judicial appointments because of which the problem has assumed cancerous dimensions.
The vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said: ‘Soft-pedalling by the apex court, not today, but 20 years ago has been the root cause of corruption in recruitment.’
The court said that the situation could have been saved if timely action was taken. The other judge on the bench was Justice C.K. Prasad.
Asking what moral authority the apex court had to question follies in recruitment in other services, Justice Singhvi said: ‘Do you think we will have a moral authority to make critical observations about the taint in other selection processes?’
At this, senior counsel Sunil Gupta, representing one of the petitioners, said incidents of corruption in recruitment had become widespread.
The court’s critical observation came in the course of a hearing of a case involving the dubious conduct of district judges in the hiring of 19 clerks, four stenos and a driver for the district courts of Barabanki and Khoshambi districts of Uttar Pradesh.
In one case, the single judge of the Allahabad High Court who examined the answer sheets of successful candidates found they had been given marks in excess of what they deserved.
There were allegations of mass copying too. The high court quashed all the selections.
While Justice Prasad said that the ‘whole thing was stinking of corruption’, Justice Singhvi said: ‘Overall things have gone wrong. It was just the case where individual candidates were involved in the stink.’
Justice Singhvi said: ‘The high court was more than considerate in dealing with the issue. The district judge should have gone.’
Senior Counsel Gupta pleaded that candidates who succeeded in the first round too should be given another opportunity to appear in the examination even if it meant relaxing their age limit.
Justice Singhvi said that the proceedings of the court could not be ‘divorced from moral values and the human approach. Of course there could be no compromise on basics’.