Former union law minister Shanti Bhushan Thursday told the Supreme Court that eight out of the 16 former chief justices of India (CJIs) were 'definitely corrupt'.
Shanti Bhushan said this in an affidavit filed Thursday. He said that six out of the 16 CJIs were 'definitely honest'. About two CJIs 'a definite opinion cannot be expressed whether they were honest or corrupt', he said.
The senior counsel gave details of the identity of the 'definitely corrupt', 'definitely honest' and two other judges in a sealed cover for the perusal of judges hearing a contempt petition against his son and advocate, Prashant Bhushan. Shanti Bhushan has signed the list.
The former minister said that since he was saying so publicly he should be made to face contempt of court proceedings and impleaded in the case in which Prashant Bhushan too was facing contempt proceedings.
Prashant Bhushan is facing contempt proceedings for saying that Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia committed a judicial impropriety by being on the forest bench that heard Sterlite Industries matter.
He said this in an interview and at that time Chief Justice Kapadia was a senior judge in the apex court.
In his affidavit, Shanti Bhushan said that he should be 'suitably punished for this contempt'.
The former law minister said that he would consider it as an honour to spend some time in jail for making an effort to get the people of India an 'honest and clean judiciary'.
The senior counsel said that since the question arising in this case affects the judiciary as a whole, the petition 'needs to be decided by the entire court and not merely by three judges handpicked by a chief justice'.
Sixteen CJI in the past that Shanti Bhushan has mentioned in his affidavit are Justice Rangnath Mishra, Justice K.N. Singh, Justice M.H. Kania, Justice L.M. Sharma, Justice M.N. Venkatachalliah, Justice A.M. Ahmadi, Justice J.S. Verma, Justice M.M. Punchhi, Justice A.S. Anand, Justice S.P. Bharucha, Justice B.N. Kirpal, Justice G.B. Pathak, Justice Rajendra Babu, Justice R.C. Lahoti, Justice V.N. Khare and Justice Y.K. Sabharwal.
Shanti Bhushan in his affidavit said that two former CJIs had personally told him that their immediate predecessors and immediate successors were corrupt judges. He said that the names of those four CJIs were included in the list of eight 'corrupt' CJIs.
The senior counsel said that there was a time when it was 'almost impossible even to think that a judge of a high court or the Supreme Court could be corrupt'.
Things have changed drastically during the last two to three decades which witnessed corruption growing in the Indian judiciary. So much so that even a sitting chief justice of India had to openly admit that 20 percent of judges could be corrupt, Shanti Bhushan said in his affidavit.
Shanti Bhushan in his affidavit referred to Gujarat High Court Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhyay's remark that 'in our judiciary, anybody can be bought'.
He said despite Chief Justice Mukhopadhyay's perception, there are a large of number of honest judges in the country.
However, he said that honest judges too were becoming the victim of this public perception since no institution was taking steps to deal with corruption in judiciary.
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