Supreme Court refuses PIL plea against corruption

Petitions expressing hopes of Utopia cannot be entertained, says Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Indicating that there will be no end to corruption unless people changed their way of thinking, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Friday dismissed as withdrawn a plea seeking stringent punishment for corruption and money laundering.

“Personally, I feel we in society should change our thinking… For every person taking money, there is a person distributing money,” Justice Kaul, heading a three-judge Bench, said in the Supreme Court.

Justice Kaul’s oral comments came while hearing the plea by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, represented by senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Mr. Upadhyay, a frequent public interest litigation (PIL) petitioner in the Supreme Court, said the government should confiscate the ill-gotten wealth — black money, benami and disproportionate assets — of the corrupt and the criminal and throw the offenders in jail for lifetime.

Justice Kaul said Mr. Upadhyay’s suggestion was Utopian.

The judge said the petitioner cannot expect to remedy all the wrongs in society through the judicial process.

“There is the process of the legislature and the executive…” Justice Kaul said, allowing Mr. Upadhyay to withdraw and knock the doors of the Law Commission of India with his suggestions.

The next case was also a PIL plea filed by Mr. Upadhyay seeking the 1993 report of the N.N. Vohra Committee on criminal-politician nexus to be handed over to various Central agencies, so that they could “coordinate” and conduct a comprehensive probe.

Senior advocate Anupam L. Das, for Mr. Upadhyay in this case, said the panel’s report was taken notice of by the Supreme Court in 1997. The court had sought an in-depth investigation into the contents of the report.

“But 23 years have elapsed since then,” Justice Kaul said.

Justice Kaul said PILs in court should subserve a purpose so that a meaningful order could be passed on them. Petitions expressing hopes of a Utopia could not be entertained.

“I sincerely hope this world would become a wonderful place. I hope our country will be on top of it…. but you cannot file petitions on your hopes… Write a book about it. This petition seeks a Utopian situation and, frankly, Utopia does not exist,” Justice Kaul remarked.

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