Eight CJIs were corrupt, SC told by ex-law minister

One of the country’s most senior lawyers and former law minister Shanti Bhushan has told the Supreme Court that of the last 16 chief justices of India, eight were “definitely corrupt”, and challenged the court to send him to jail for “contempt”

Former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan has said in an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court that at least eight of the 16 chief justices of India (CJIs) were “definitely corrupt”, six were “definitely honest”, and that he could not comment on the remaining two. The list of 16 CJIs, according Bhushan, starts with Justice Ranganath Mishra and goes on through to Justice Y K Sabharwal.

Bhushan declared the names of the 16 judges in a sealed envelope while seeking to implead himself in ongoing legal action against his son Prashant Bhushan, also a lawyer, for making allegedly contemptuous statements against the integrity of Supreme Court judges, in a media interview, including questioning the past judicial conduct of Justice S H Kapadia, currently CJI, in the Vedanta case.

Shanti Bhushan’s move follows the recent decision by a three-judge special Bench, led by Justice Altamas Kabir, to go ahead with the contempt action against Prashant Bhushan despite the latter explaining to the Bench that he holds Justice Kapadia to be a “judge of financial integrity”.

Defending Prashant’s statements, Shanti Bhushan, who was law minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet, said that his public statement that “out of the last 16 chief justices of India, eight of them are definitely corrupt” would make him, along with Prashant, liable for contempt.

“The applicant (Shanti) would consider it a great honour to spend time in jail for making an effort to get for the people of India an honest and clean judiciary,” the senior advocate said in his application. “The applicant submits that since the questions arising in this case affect 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.”

Source: The Indian Express, September 17, 2010
             Hindustan Times, September 17, 2010