11 Dec 2020 6:58 AM GMT
"You cannot expect the judiciary to take over all roles", stated the Supreme Court on Friday while dismissing as withdrawn a plea seeking for directions to Centre to ascertain the feasibility of confiscating 100% black money, benami property etc. and to award life imprisonment in offences related to corruption. A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the submissions...
"You cannot expect the judiciary to take over all roles", stated the Supreme Court on Friday while dismissing as withdrawn a plea seeking for directions to Centre to ascertain the feasibility of confiscating 100% black money, benami property etc. and to award life imprisonment in offences related to corruption.
A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the submissions of Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and directed the plea to be dismissed as withdrawn, with the liberty to approach the Law Commission seeking recommendations on law reforms.
The Public Interest Litigation petition was filed by Ashwini Upadhyaya. In today's hearing, Sankaranarayanan told the Bench that there were pending sentences under Acts such as Prevention of Money Laundering Act, which were yet to be executed. Further, most officials were public officials and it was difficult to obtain sanction. To this, the Bench responded that the Court can only administer law and not make law as it was the Parliament's job to do that; a mandamus could not be issued to the Parliament. Sankaranarayanan insisted that the Courts could step in when there was a vacuum. Justice Kaul then stated, "There is a tendency to come to the Court to fulfil the gaps. That's like coming to us and telling us to clean up the country. Are these meaningful prayers? Eradicate poverty, clean up the country and all? The Petitioner has done good work, but this is only a publicity interest litigation." The judiciary could not be expected take over all roles and the Constitution did not encompass such a situation, noted Justice Kaul. "It is impossible to pass orders on a petition like this. There are no suggestions. There is a process – there exists the Executive, Legislature, then there is judicial scrutiny. Have you made a representation to the Law Commission? Go to them", said Justice Kaul.
When the bench expressed its disinclination to entertain the petition, Shankaranarayan sought liberty to make a representation before the Law Commission of India seeking law reforms. On that note, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition as withdrawn and directed the Petitioner to approach the Law Commission. Filed by BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the plea sought for directions to the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of confiscating 100% Black Money, Benami Properties, Disproportionate Assets and awarding Life Imprisonment in the offences relating to bribery, black money, benami property, disproportionate assets, money laundering, tax evasion, profiteering, gain hoarding, food adulteration, human and drug trafficking, black marketing, cheating, fraud, forgery etc. As an alternative, the plea also sought for directions to the Law Commission and/or Lokpal to examine and publish the best Anti-Corruption Laws of the world, with the most effective provisions. Stating that cause of action accrued on 24th January, 2020, when Transparency International put India at 80 in the Corruption Perception Index, the plea states that India has never ranked even amongst the top 50 due to ineffective anti-corruption laws. It goes on to aver that due to "rubbish laws" and "massive corruption", none of the welfare schemes and government departments are able to function properly, and the same has lead to India's ranking being affected across various indices. "Corruption is key factor in economic underperformance and main obstacle is poverty alleviation. Right to life-liberty guaranteed under Article 21 cannot be secured and the golden goals of Preamble cannot be achieved without curbing corruption. Therefore, it is duty of Centre to implement the best and most effective anti-corruption laws of the world to give strong message that Government is determined to weed out corruption…", stated the plea.
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