The Supreme Court said Friday that the responsibility for curing all the ills of society does not rest solely with the judiciary, and seemed to suggest that the executive and legislative branches were not always interested in stricter laws to control corruption.
A bank headed by Judge Sanjay K Kaul added that it was not possible for the judiciary to assume all roles and respond to requests with “utopian” prayers. “You are all asking for utopian situations and utopia does not exist. For every person who receives illicit money, there is one person who distributes it, ”the court said, while dealing with two separate public interest litigation brought by defender Ashwini Upadhyay related to corruption.
In the first petition, Upadhyay lobbied for life in prison in cases of black money, corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, food adulteration and cheating.
In defending the guilty plea, top defender Gopal Sanakaranarayan lamented the government’s unwillingness to propose stricter measures, noting that the target of corruption appears to lie within the executive wing.
The court responded that there might be some foundation in what the lawyer has to say, but it is not for the court to ask Parliament to draw up a specific law on the punishment for a certain category of crimes. “You may be right in saying that the executive wing may not be interested in making strict laws, but can we accept a request like this? This court administers the law. It is up to Parliament to make laws. We cannot issue a mandamus to Parliament to make a law, ”he said.
When there is no loophole in the law, the court said, it is not up to a constitutional court to entertain “all-encompassing” sentences in a petition asking for a statement in nature that all is not well in the country.
“Curing all the ills of the system does not prevail only with the Judicial Power. There are also executive and legislative branches with specific roles. The judiciary cannot be expected to take over all roles and do everything. It is impossible. It is never foreseen in the Constitution nor is it desirable ”, commented the bench.
Sankaranarayan decided to withdraw the PIL with the freedom to go to the Legal Commission to examine the question of reinforced punishment in cases related to corruption.
The second PIL of Upadhyay before the same bank was included as the next subject. He asked the Center for instructions to deliver the 1993 report of the Vohra Committee to various central agencies for a comprehensive investigation. Upadhyay complained that the report presented by the then Union Home Secretary NN Vohra on the alleged link between crime syndicates, politicians and bureaucrats has not been followed up.
“… You’re making these kinds of prayers. Write a book about it. Do not submit requests like this. You can understand cases in which the government authorities can be nudged but not with such utopian prayers, “said the bank, while Upadhyay chose to withdraw the PIL freely to approach the Law Commission first.
Vineet Narain, a prominent anti-corruption activist, said: “The Supreme Court is right in saying that the judiciary cannot change everything by itself. When most politicians and bureaucrats seem to be shirking their duties in the fight against corruption and rather have become a cause of it, the judiciary cannot be expected to do wonders. These changes must start as a society and then we can demand stronger laws … “