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People losing faith in law of the land : CNN-IBN



People losing faith in law of the land

as reported in CNN-IBN


New Delhi: In a rare verdict by the Delhi High Court, two of the

country's top criminal lawyers, R K Anand and I U Khan have been held

guilty of colluding with witness Sunil Kulkarni in the high-profile

BMW hit-and-run case.


The court observed, "There is no doubt that there was complicity

between Mr Khan and Mr Anand and that Mr Kulkarni as aware of it. We

are left with no doubt that Mr Anand was a key player in interfering

and obstructing the course of justice."


The Delhi High Court has barred Anand and Khan from practicing for

four months apart from the fine that is to be paid as punishment. The

Delhi District lawyers went into a daylong strike to support the two

senior lawyers.


The debate in the legal circles is whether the court has the authority

to suspend the licences of lawyers. An eminent senior Advocate, KTS

Tulsi has expressed shock over why the court has not utilized the

audiovisual proofs to send the duo to prison.


People's faith in the country's judiciary is on the ebb and the people

need to know if – Is it possible to manipulate judgments in our



CNN-IBN asked that question on Thursday on its show Face the Nation.

On the panel, to debate the question were former judge of Supreme

Court, U C Banerjee, senior lawyer Harish Salve and convenor, National

Campaign for People's Right to Information, Shekhar Singh.


U C Banerjee denied that any such nexus between the judiciary and the

manipulators of law exists at all.



Judging the Judges


"It is mere gossip. A judge will not do any such thing to bring down

the judiciary," U C Banerjee said.



Harish Salve was of the opinion that Banerjee was not at fault for his

vision of the judiciary…after all he is one of the finest judges that

adorned our benches. But Salve emphasized that given the very high

percentage of people who said yes, it is easy to manipulate judgments,

it cannot be completely baseless.



"I will not give a carte blanche statement that judges cannot be

corrupt…I have seen some very odd judgments in my time," said Salve.


It is not as though every judge is corrupt but the credibility of the

system is not what it used to be, he added.


Salve recollected the time when society had zero tolerance for such

instances and the accused would hang their head in shame.


"But society has now accepted corruption as a part of life," lamented Salve.


"There are good judges and there are bad judges," said Shekhar Singh,

stating that his team working on the issue of Right to Information

(RTI) Act could do with seeing some more transparency in the system.


"There is a consistent effort to make sure that the RTI Act does not

apply to High Court and Supreme Court judges," he added.


Judges above Law?


Banerjee felt that Judges hold some constitutional powers and a

constitutional authority cannot be prosecuted without the sanction of

the highest judicial body in the country, namely the Chief Justice of



Salve, in the latter part of the show expressed that there are

disgruntled elements in every judgment, the one who loses the case. If

every case was open for questioning then the judiciary cannot

function, he felt.


"The errant judges must be punished. There is no doubt about this that

those at fault will definitely have to be appropriately dealt with in

accordance with the law," said U C Bannerjee.


Judiciary, resembling Political arena


In a particular case two years ago, a court in Gujarat had issued

bailable arrest warrants against the then serving President of the

country. Isn't that a manipulation of courts or is it a simple case of

influence finding its way?


"If the court has ordered it, the court must have justifiable reasons

for that and if the court has ordered it, I have nothing more to add

or to say," commented Banerjee.


There have been talks of middlemen, cash exchanging hands and people

currying favours even in the judicial circles. Has the judiciary begun

to increasingly resemble the already sullied political field?


"Allegations have surfaced and I would not say that they are entirely

baseless. Judges are as much a part of the civil society as you and

me," Salve offered.


"One bad judgment and it sullies the image. It takes a million efforts

to build an image and one blow like the BMW sting case to destroy the



The judiciary is the last resort in the quest for justice. What

happens to the people's faith after such cases surface?


"It is tragic but I am not totally shocked," said a pragmatic Singh.

"What shocked me is the leniency of the sentence. It seems that if you

belonged to a privileged fraternity, you can get away with murder.

Even more shocking is the support the legal fraternity is giving to

the people the court has punished," Singh added about the Delhi

District Lawyers Association support to Anand and Khan.


And the solution:


"We need a judicial commission which strikes a balance and the errant

judges can be brought to book," said Salve.


But that would be like having a corrective setup over the judiciary.


So Salve added, "A system that has a corrective machinery is a

stronger system and that in fact is a sign of strength and not of



Salve said this in supplement to his earlier comments that we have

become a soft society and had recalled a time when indictment by the

High Court, let alone the punishment, would be such a censure that a

person would have no place to hide his face.


"There was a time when a client came to you and requested you to study

and contest his case. But now people come to lawyers with cases and

ask outright but discreetly, if the lawyer knows any fixer or

middleman to plug the jury," Salve said.


So if we want a judiciary that is spotless, the society will also have

to evolve from within because the two feed on each other's acts. So

that brings us to our question of the day: Is it possible to

manipulate judgments in our country? While the jury is still out on

that one, the people's disillusionment is clear and in need of a fix.



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I had a bitter experience regarding activities of the corrupt administration of many Govt. Dept. We could not able to make them taking proper action against corrupt Managing Committee of our Society, even after a prolonged legal fight.So, we are really becoming frustrated day by day. I had eloborated how a mimister stopped enquiry against a group of corrupt persons when the enquiry was initiated at the instance of many RTI activities. The Hon'ble Minister directed ----" No administrative action need be initiated . This is urgent." The concerned Minister wrote this letter on his letter pad and that type of direction was given only this occasion , within a period of 5 years. What was urgent ? To take proper action against corrupt persons or to take initiative to stop enquiry aginst them . Minister had taken the second path. It was reported twicw in the news paper, but administration , knowing fully well , avoiding it's responsibility to take legal action.

The minister directed the concerned officer to arrange a meeting with (corrupt) persons immediately and to report him. When it was asked about this under RTI application, SPIO furnished -"No record available in this regard. " Even after one year of receipt of the minister's direction to settle the matter "amicably" nothing could produce. And the enquiry was stopped . It was nicely informed to all those corrupt persons , they are happy now. Why and how the administration including minister are helping corrupt persons are easy to understand , but difficult to stop it.

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    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan

      Appeal No.ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006

      Right to Information Act – Sections 6/18

      Name of Appellant : Satyapal
      Name of Public Authority : CPIO, TCIL


      Decisions appealed against :
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      Shri Satyapal – appellant, a resident of Delhi, applied to the CPIO, TCIL seeking for copies of certain documents by a letter dated 17th October, 2005. By a letter dated 14th November, 2005, CPIO, TCIL furnished copies of certain documents, however, stating that a particular document sought for was a file noting in the Department of Telecom and as such it was exempt from disclosure. By a letter dated 17th Nov. 2005, Shri Satyapal again wrote to the CPIO, TCIL pointing out that the information sought for by him did not fall within the ambit of Section 8 of the RTI Act and as such the same should be supplied. He also brought to the notice of CPIO, TCIL that in respect of information already furnished, a copy of a bill in respect of advertisement relating to independence day 1996 had not been supplied. By a letter dated 28th Nov. 2005, the CPIO, TCIL while furnishing a copy of the bill, once again reiterated that file notings are exempt from disclosure in terms of the clarification given by the Department of Personnel in their website. Aggrieved by this decision, Shri Satyapaul preferred an appeal to the appellate authority by a letter dated 14th Dec. 2005 stating that file notings are not exempt from disclosure in terms of Section 8 of the RTI Act. He followed up the same by letters dated 14th Dec., 31st Dec. 2005 and 5th January, 2006. The appellate authority by a letter dated 5.1.2006 rejected the appeal stating “The information sought by you pertains to the file notings of the Department of Telecommunication as also that of TCIL. I am of the view that TCIL is exempted from disclosing the information sought by you under Section 8(1)(d)&(e) of the RTI Act. UO No.7-17/95-PP dated 4.10.1995 is a part of file notings. You have mentioned in your appeal that the information has been denied misconstruing it as “file notings” by CPIO, TCIL. I confirm that these are notings in the file”. Aggrieved with the decision of the appellate authority, Shri Satyapal has filed this appeal before this Commission. According to Shri Satyapal, there is no specific exemption from disclosure as far as file notings are concerned in Section 8 of RTI Act.
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      It is seen that while the CPIO declined to furnish the information sought for on the ground that file notings are exempt from disclosure, the appellate authority, without confirming or rejecting the stand of CPIO that file notings are exempt from disclosure, has relied on Section 8(1)(d) and (e) of the RTI Act to deny the information.
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      Since we have held that file notings are not, as a matter of law, exempt from disclosure, the CPIO, TCIL is directed to furnish the information contained in the file notings, on or before 15.2.2006 to the appellant. However, if the CPIO, TCIL is still of the opinion that the said file notings are exempt under Section 8(d) & (e), he is at liberty to place the file notings before the Commission on 13.2.2006 at 11 AM to determine whether the same is exempt under these sections and even if so, whether disclosure of the same would be in the public interest or not.
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    • avdhesh
      By avdhesh
      News I read from The
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      Better, but far from perfect

      Province has gotten better, but N.S. charges highest fees for public info
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