Thursday, January 27, 2011

"The worst have come from the Supreme Court" - Thus said Supreme Court - Times of India News

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reprimanded governments for abuse of discretionary land allotment powers before turning reflective and admitting that some of its judgments have contributed to the all round falling standards.

A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said the court had upheld suspension of citizens' fundamental rights including the right to life during the Emergency in 1976 and 10 years later regularized out-of-turn allotment of the first Indian small car, Maruti, then a status symbol, to the high and mighty.

"The worst have come from the Supreme Court," it said in response to senior advocate Ravishankar Prasad's query — "Can we say the SC of 1950s is the same today?"

The bench's remarks came during the hearing of a petition which accused the Madhya Pradesh government of allotting 20 acres of prime land at a throwaway price to the Kushabhau Thakre Trust having BJP leaders L K Advani and Venkaiah Naidu as trustees.

Before reserving verdict in the case, the court said: "Discretionary power was to be used in public good. In the last 50 years, this is exercised just for the opposite."

"The man who abides by law feels he is a fool. Every state, not only Madhya Pradesh, who has got discretionary power has abused it," said the bench. The court's remark was in sync with a spate of land scams, including the Adarsh Society case, that has hogged the headlines recently.

Madhya Pradesh's counsel and senior advocate Ravishanker Prasad said Indian democracy was stronger and the self-corrective mechanism would eradicate the malaise. He said discretionary powers were also exercised to regularize slums and unauthorized colonies, where the poor live.

An unimpressed bench said: "That was done ahead of elections with an eye on their votes." It also disagreed with Prasad's assertion that Indian democracy had not gone the US way where a president grants pardon to a convict after he makes donations to party funds.

The bench said: "Worse had happened in India. A man shot dead a corporator during a meeting of a municipal council in Haryana. The SC upheld his conviction. Yet, the government exercised its discretionary power to grant him pardon. Even this was set aside. However, the government again exercised the pardon jurisdiction." Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Trust, reminded the court about its ruling quashing the pardon granted to a murder convict, Epuru Sudhakar, by the Andhra Pradesh governor.

On the case, he said the Trust was ready to pay Rs 55 lakh with interest to the government as was demanded, but later waived off on request. During Monday's hearing, the court had questioned the largescale irregularities in land allotment in the state. Prasad agreed and said it had been a malaise that affected every government.

Read more
'Supreme Court contributed to falling standards' - The Times of India

No comments: