RSTV- The Big Picture : Corruption in Higher Judiciary

  • IASbaba
  • December 21, 2017
  • 3
The Big Picture- RSTV
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Corruption in Higher Judiciary


TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

In news: Judiciary is in deep crisis as there happens to be division between SC judges. There is a severe case against a medical college, and allegations that a retired judge took a bribe and tried to influence the SC judges who were hearing the case and present CJI happens to be one of judges hearing that case. So there are allegations against unknown judges and indirect allegation against CJI. So the question is should CJI be hearing the case or should CJI decide who hears the case.

Corruption in higher judiciary- how widespread?

Indian judiciary is known for its fairness, impartiality, and incorruptibility. Hence the courts can scarcely afford any loss of public faith. Independence of judiciary is very important. The judiciary should not seem divided or the judges casting aspersions on each other should be avoided.

In reality, India’s judicial corruption is a disease that begins at the lower levels. Corruption begins in higher courts where higher court judges are selected from the ranks of lower court judges and lawyers who have been well exposed to environment of bribes for speedy and favorable judgments. In addition to it, seniority becomes the primary ‘de facto’ criterion for promotion. Once judges have been appointed to higher courts, they can use their expansive ”contempt of court” powers to suppress allegations of corruption. There have been past instances when former CJIs accused of corruption are now battling contempt of court proceedings.

A 2007 survey that dis-aggregated bribe recipients showed that 59% of respondents paid bribes to lawyers, 5% to judges, and 30% to court officials for judgement in their favour. Thus, long pendency of cases, opaque appointments and political influences has marred efficiency of Indian judiciary.

Institutional mechanisms?

There is lack of mechanism to deal with situations where a judicial personnel is accused of corruption. The constitution has given the mechanism of impeachment which is a long drawn process. So one of the area can be looked into his perks given to higher judiciary which can be curtailed in event of serious accusation. Later, there should be quick disposal of the case by the body which SC creates.

Thus, in such circumstances, it feels that National Judicial commission should be in place to monitor the various appointments in the first place.

Way forward

  • The judiciary is being looked upon as an institution of faith and justice. Allegations and accusations in court rooms against judges should be avoided so as to retain faith in ‘customer of justice’.
  • The judiciary system refrain itself from getting influenced by corrupt practices carried in lower courts in a widespread manner.
  • An institution should be established to speedily remove the corrupt judges rather than being transferred from one state to another or mere removal from particular cases.


A temple of justice and one of the pillars of Indian democracy, Indian judicial system has to evolve itself towards a more transparent, highly accountable and less politically influenced institution. It is true that it is easy to administer law but it it is more difficult to administer justice and most difficult to balance the two, but the judges have been entrusted with this responsibilities and lawyers have to support the judges in successful delivery of justice.

Also read

The institution of judiciary facing crisis of credibility: A conflict between Supreme Court judges

Connecting the dots:

  • Internal conflicts of judges can deter Indian judiciary’s trustworthiness and credibility. Do you agree? Explain in detail.

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