`Considerable corruption in higher judiciary`

Alleging "considerable corruption" in higher judiciary, lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Wednesday said civil society was ready to keep it out of the purview of Lokpal only if an independent body is created.

Updated: Apr 27, 2011, 21:54 PM IST

New Delhi: Alleging "considerable corruption"
in higher judiciary, lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Wednesday said civil
society was ready to keep it out of the purview of Lokpal only
if an independent body is created to look into both criminal
cases and charges of misconduct against judges.

Bhushan, member of a joint panel formed to draft an
effective Lokpal Bill, dismissed as "wrong" reports about a
consensus among civil society over keeping judges out of the
ambit of the proposed ombudsman.

"Lokpal was only supposed to look into criminal
investigation against judges. The issue of misconduct was
anyway to be tackled by another separate independent body. We
had only said if an independent and strong body is created, we
will have no problem if criminal investigation is also brought
under the purview of that body," he said.

Earlier, addressing an All-India Anti-Corruption Summit by
NGOs Transparency International and 5th Pillar, he alleged
there is "considerable corruption" in higher judiciary as
there is "no accountability".

Bhushan said judicial system is "collapsing under its own
weight". Noting that the proposed Lokpal was to have judges
and the Prime Minister under its purview, he also said it is
essential that the ombudsman has prosecutorial powers.

"That`s how this was envisaged and now we are looking into
a lot of suggestions including how the machinery under this
Lokpal can be made accountable to an external body."

Bhushan also sought to debunk suggestions that the method
of Gandhian Anna Hazare`s agitation for Lokpal Bill undermined
democracy, saying "real democracy comes when people can take
their decisions themselves.

"We will have to find ways to institutionalise
participatory democracy. For instance, why the nuclear deal
could not be put up for a referendum?"

He also alleged anti-corruption institutions have become
"weak" as CBI has become "corrupt" and government-controlled
and there are efforts to appoint CVCs who are "pliable".

The lawyer, however, said Lokpal can only tackle the
"supply side" of corruption whereas the important issue is
that "demand side of corruption" which is being created by
policies adopted following economic liberalisation.

"Enormous profits can be made by corporates by corrupting
officials and these corporations have become so powerful that
they can subvert and corrupt Parliament, judiciary, police and
even the media," he said and referred to the Radia tapes.

PTI