After the unprecedented award of the highest-ever compensation for “medical negligence” delivered by the Supreme Court just over a month ago, another history was made today from the wrongful death, Anuradha Saha, as corruption inside the highest court of the land came to limelight when CBI Delhi District Court (Saket) Judge Mr. Dinesh Sharma sentenced Mr. C. Perumal and Mr. K.S. Badrinatham, two Supreme Court Registry officials, to jail for a period of 3 and 2 years, respectively, on charges of “bribery” and “criminal conspiracy” (see TOI news below). This unprecedented CBI case stems from an indefinite hunger strike started by Anuradha’s husband, Dr. Kunal Saha, in 2009 in protest of the inordinate delay in his case against several eminent doctors and AMRI hospital in Kolkata who were later found guilty for causing Anuradha’s death by the Apex Court. Reportedly, the two SC employees promised to list Dr. Saha’s case in exchange of a bribe of Rs. 75,00o. But Dr. Saha contacted CBI and trapped the two Apex Court officials as they were caught red-handed while taking the bribe from Dr. Saha on 10th February, 2009. The CBI trial continued for more than 4 years during which Dr. Saha also had to travel to India to testify as the key-witness of this historic case.
While the historic judgment by the CBI court in Delhi today would undoubtedly send a strong signal against corruption in the judiciary, it must also raise serious questions about the pitiful condition of our justice delivery system. If cases could be listed by paying hefty bribe to officials in the Apex Court registry, what would be status of justice in lower courts across India? It would also be naïve to imagine that taking bribe was limited to only two SC registry employees who were caught by the CBI. More important, one must also ponder that nobody would bribe the registry to list his case unless he has a far more sinister motive to obtain a favorable verdict through extraneous influences. Although many judges in the Apex Court have shown unshakable character, there is no denial that corruption has also riddled through the justice delivery system which must be removed for any hope ofTOI (Dec. 4, 2013) further progress of our nation.