CJI: Seize assets of corrupt

Delay in prosecution of accused decried

CJI: Seize assets of corrupt


Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Saturday came down heavily on corruption and favoured confiscation of assets of officials convicted of graft.

Speaking at a national seminar on “Fighting crimes related to corruption,” the chief justice said the rationale behind his proposal is that if an official amasses wealth at the cost of the public, then the state is justified in seizing such assets.

He said empirical studies have shown that the Below Poverty Line families “are disproportionately affected” by the culture of graft.

Frequent reports of diversion of food grain from the Public Distribution System demonstrate that such practices are directly linked to starvation and malnutrition in poor households.

He said demanding a bribe even for the delivery of essential services such as issuance of ration cards and approval of electricity and water connection was  reprehensible.

The quality of governance suffers when decisions are taken on account of extraneous considerations related to political patronage, kinship or caste and linguistic identity.
“Irregularities have also been reported in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, wherein ‘muster-rolls’ are manipulated, and the designated wages are collected by middlemen who falsify records about the extent of work done by individual workers,” he said.

In the long run, the costs of corruption are not confined to the money that changed hands under the table as the real costs are difficult to measure since they involve the loss of opportunities for business and investment as well as the diversion of man power.

In some instances, corruption poses threat to national security and law and order. “We are all aware how smuggled arms and explosives were used for the bomb blasts in Bombay in 1993, as well as the financing of terrorist operations through the hawala currency racket,” he said. The chief justice also favoured provisions for faster governmental sanction to prosecute corrupt officials.

The CJI pointed out that procedural delays like  granting sanctions to prosecute corrupt officials is rendering the fight against corruption ineffective.

The seminar was organised jointly by the CBI and the National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (NICFS). It was also attended by Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances Prithviraj Chavan, CBI Director Ashwani Kumar and NICFS Director Kamlendra Prasad.

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