Who Will Judge the Judges? by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JULY 17, 2008)
Mohammed Ataur Rahman looks at the decline in the standards of integrity of our judiciary and wonders whether justice is going to be even more difficult to obtain
We have rightly been proud of our democracy and of our democratic institutions: our legislature, our judiciary, our media, if not our executive.
The moral authority and the range of freedom the legislature, judiciary and media enjoy are instrumental in keeping the executive on a tight leash.
All this represents a guarantee that the ordinary citizen will not be allowed to be harassed by an influential executive or powerful classes of the citizenry.
There have been so many times in the past that the judiciary has intervened forcefully on the side of the weak, and media persons have boldly exposed the wrong-doing of powerful persons and groups.
Yet, at the lower levels in all these branches of democracy instances of corruption and mala fide intent have been noted frequently. Most of the time the upper echelons have been free from such weaknesses.
However, of late things have changed dramatically. Corruption is no longer confined to lower judiciary. The executive is already corrupt to the core and executive integrity is the exception rather than the norm.
The legislature in the states and at the Centre is teeming with people who have a criminal record. At least six members of Parliament are cooling their heels behind bars. At one point as many as 50 members of UP Legislative Assembly have been counted to have been charged with serious offences like murder, attempt to murder, rioting and assault.
Now we are faced with the discovery of a judicial scam that the media has described as the "biggest ever in the India's history". Many judges of the higher judiciary have been involved in illegal doings and misuse of their official position. The Supreme Court has allowed the CBI to investigate the scandal. Initial reports have shown the rot to be of mind-boggling proportions.
The tormented Indian citizen is at a loss to find words to describe this monumental decline in our public life. "If the judiciary fails, how will we get justice?", is the question. And, please tell us, who will judge the judges?