Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

SC verdict on Jayalalitha’s DA case: Some Ethics lessons from the judgement

Supreme Court has recently given a judgement on the late Jayalalitha’s Disproportionate Assets case and jailed the CM prospect Sasikala for 4 years, which has far reaching implications on TN politics, the judgement was not just about that, at the end in a 570 page judgement Honorable Justice Amitava Roy penned in what he called some disquieting thoughts (565-570) in an eloquent way which probably have to be read with a dictionary by the side.

You can download the original judgement here. But we have simplified it for you.

Some key takeaways (simplified) that we could note from the judgement:

  • The magnitude of the nefarious gains as demonstrated by the revelations in the case is, to say the least, startling.
  • In the contemporary existence, there is an all-pervading epidemic presence of corruption almost in every walk of life, and we are witnessing this malaise in a helpless awe.
  • The common day experiences introduce us regularly, the varied cancerous concoctions of corruption with fearless impunity deteriorating the frame and fabric of the nation’s essentia.
  • Emboldened by the lucrative yields of such malignant materialism, the corrupt people have tightened their hold on the societal psyche. Therefore individual and collective interventions have to be made at all levels and are inevitable to save the civil order from suffocation due to increasing spread of this cancerous corruption.
  • He says judicial adjudication of a charge based on an anti-corruption lawhas to beinformed with the desired responsibility and the legislative vision and judges have to make interpretation of the provisions of such law in an essentially purposive manner.
  • He says that the judges have to counter the innovative nuances used by defence lawyers of inadequate evidence, weak procedures and interpretational subtleties, which otherwise may be intangible and inconsequential.
  • He advises them that they ought to be conscientiously cast aside with moral maturity and singular sensitivity to uphold the statutory sanctity, for the coveted cause of justice.

Defines Corruption in the Judgement

  • Corruption is a vice of insatiable avarice for self-aggrandizement by the unscrupulous, taking unfair advantage oftheir power and authority and those in public office also, inbreach of the institutional norms, mostly backed by sinister loyalists.

Advice for Public Servants

  • Both the corrupt and the corrupter are indictable andanswerable to the society and the country as a whole.
  • This ismore particularly in case ofthe peoples’ representatives in public lifecommitted by the oath of the office to dedicate oneself to theunqualified welfare of the people, by faithfully and conscientiously discharging their duties attached thereto in accordance with theConstitution, free from fear or favour or affection or ill-will.
  • Aself-serving conduct in defiance of the oath isinfringement of the community’s confidence in them and istherefore a betrayal of the promise of allegiance to theConstitution and a condemnable sin.
  • Not only such acharacter is an enemy to the preamble’sideals of justice,liberty, equality, fraternal dignity, unity and integrity of thecountry but also is an unpardonableonslaught on the constitutional religion that forms the bedrockof our democratic polity.

How Corruption affects the society?

  • This menace stemming from moral erosion of the corrupt destroys the sinewsof the nation’s structural and moral set-up.
  • Forges an unfair advantage of the dishonest over the principled and widens the divide between the haves and have not’s.
  • Demoralizes those who are ethical, honest, upright and enterprising, it is visibly antithetical to the quintessential spirit of the fundamental duty of every citizen to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity to raise the nation to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
  • This virulent ill triggers an imbalance in the society’s existential stratas and stalls constructive progress in the overallwell-being of the nation, besides disrupting its dynamics of fiscal governance.
  • It encourages defiance of the rule of law and the tendencies for easy materialistic gains, whereby the society’s soul stands defiled, devalued and denigrated.
  • The dominance of the corruption is such that,that majority of the sensible, rational people with moral values and groomed withdisciplinal ethos find themselves in minority.
  • The peoplethen getdemotivated by the practical compulsions and are left dejected anddisillusioned.

A call for action

  • A collective, committed and courageous turnaround is the need of the day which is imperative to free the civil order from the suffocative throttle of this deadly malaise called corruption.
  • Every citizen has to be a partner in this sacrosanct mission, if we aspire for a stable, just and ideal social order as envisioned by our forefathers and fondly cherished by the numerous self-effacing crusaders of a free and independent Bharat, pledging their countless sacrifices and selfless commitments for such cause.

Test yourself: Answer the question in Comments.

  1. Is corruption a necessary evil or serious malaise in Indian society? How corruption affects the society?
  2. How as a society we can end corruption from the Indian ethos? Suggest some innovative measures to tackle the malaise.

Suggested Reading: There is a very good book written by a former CVC, N Vittal. : See this link – Ending Corruption? How to Clean Up India. Very good book for some fodder on essays and answering questions and case studies in ethics.


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