“First, governments notify land far more than what is required for a specific project. Then, they put the onus of getting those lands denotified on the hapless people.
Thus, they are harassed to the extent of extortion,” Justice Raveendran said here on Friday. He was delivering the Fifth P G C Chengappa Memorial Lecture at the High Court of Karnataka.
Coming down heavily on denotification, he said the process challenges the very foundation of democracy. The judge, who retired in October 2011, said it was wrong to blame others for corruption.
“Each of us think that laws need not be applied to him/her strictly, and they should be exonerated. Very few people can claim they are not corrupt.” In his view, corruption cannot be tackled as long as people don’t stop being “bribe-givers.”
He listed several “preliminary steps” that lead to corruption. Giving tips to waiters in restaurants, lawyers offering fruits and sweets to sitting judges, etc are some of them. Regular payment as token of appreciation is soon misunderstood as a legitimate expectation, he observed.
A latest estimate puts the total number of public servants in India at 1.87 crore. Besides, there are 40 lakh elected representatives — at local bodies, legislative Assemblies, and Parliament. Among them, only about five per cent would be anyhow corrupt and hence incorrigible.
Most of them, according to Justice Raveendran, are fence-sitters. That is, 60 per cent won’t be corrupt if monitoring bodies keep a tight vigil on them.
About 25 per cent are honest and scrupulous but can become corrupt if injustice is meted out to them. The remaining 10 per cent are totally upright and honest and can never be corrupted, he said.
Justice Raveendran lamented that the introduction of economic reforms in 1991 and abolishing the licence Raj did little to reduce corruption. In fact, they only increased the practise, he concluded.