A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre, states and UTs for setting up an Expert Committee to suggest steps for improving India's deplorable ranking on the Global Corruption Perception Index.
Filed on behalf of BJP Leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who has been instrumental in filing many PILs before top court, the plea seeks the constitution of the committees to look into good practices of those countries that rank several notches higher on the index than India.
Thus, the PIL has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India "to examine the best practices of the countries, ranked among top 20 in Corruption Perception Index and accordingly take appropriate steps to weed-out the menace of bribery, black money generation, benami transaction, tax evasion, money laundering, profiteering, grain hoarding, food adulteration, human trafficking, drug trafficking, black marketing, cheating, fraud, forgery, mischief, dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, dishonestly inducing delivery of property, cheating by personation, concealment of property, falsification of accounts, and economic offences including corporate fraud, capital market fraud and forensic fraud and violation of the laws relating to accounting, company, taxation and information technology"
The plea states that alternatively, the Court may direct Law Commission of India to examine anti-corruption laws of developed countries & suggest steps to weed-out corruption, black money generation, benami transactions & money laundering, and to improve India's ranking in Corruption Perception Index.
Upadhyay highlights that the injury caused to people is extremely large because corruption is an insidious plague, having a wide range of corrosive effects on the country.
"It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organised crime like separatism, terrorism, naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering and extortion and other threats to human security to flourish" - Excerpt of Plea
Further, the plea brings to the fore, the distress that corruption has caused in the country, especially to the underprivileged sections of the society and that it is the duty of the state to take steps to weed-out corruption and black money generation.
"It is inimical to fostering of excellence and has adverse impact on EWS-BPL families. Due to massive corruption, even after 73 years of independence, 50% population is in distress leading hand-to-mouth existence and large segments not knowing where next meal is coming from, with abominable health standards and primary education levels," Upadhyay claims.
Apropos this, the petitioner urges the court to pass directions so that the rule of law guaranteed under the Constitution can be secured. He adds that Centre and States are not taking appropriate and enough steps to weed out the menace of corruption.
"....it is duty of the State to take steps to weed-out corruption and black money generation. Stern steps must be taken to reaffirm the rule of law, improve transparency and warn looters that betrayal of public trust will no longer be tolerated," says Upadhyay in his plea before top court.
The public interest litigant has also states that the root cause of 50% problems of India is corruption, which, he contends can't be weeded-out without tax reform, police reform, judicial reform, democratic reform, administrative reform and education reform. He adds that many eminent commissions and committees including Law Commission, Election Commission and Venkatchaliah Commission have given more than 500 suggestions in this regard but Centre and States are not interested to implement them.
Emphasising that Preamble is not a mere flourish of words, but is an ideal setup for practices and observances as matter of law through constitutional mechanism, the Petitioner outlines that its purpose is to clarify who has made the Constitution, what is its source, what is ultimate sanction behind it; what is the nature of polity, which is sought to be established and what are its goals and objectives.
"The one common object is to promote well-being of the society as a whole. It is impossible to achieve the great golden goals of Preamble without curbing corruption, the greatest menace to democracy-development," the plea avers.