After bribery scandal, judicial clean-up must

In one instance, a client gave Rs 25 lakh to the lawyer to be given as a bribe to a judge.

Published: 28th January 2023 01:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2023 01:55 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court (File Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)

The lay public and the judicial fraternity were shocked when an investigation by the Kerala High Court’s vigilance wing found that a leading lawyer had been collecting huge sums of money from his clients as kickbacks after promising favourable judgements. The confidential report, brought out by The New Indian Express early this week, said Saiby Jose Kidangoor, also the president of the influential Kerala High Court Advocates Association, took money from his clients by taking the names of three judges of the high court. The vigilance wing made the report after recording statements from several lawyers. In one instance, a client gave Rs 25 lakh to the lawyer to be given as a bribe to a judge. “Prima facie, there is sufficient material to prove the allegations against the lawyer,” the report said.

While the report is damning enough, what’s disturbing is despite the serious nature of the revelations, there seems to be no urgency on the part of the police and the judicial establishment to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.

Consider this: Saiby continues to be the Kerala High Court Advocates Association president. Sure, the vigilance wing probed the allegations after a direction from the High Court registrar. Still, the Bar Council is yet to make any visible move against the lawyer. The police, after the initial reluctance, recorded Saiby’s statement. The lawyer denied the allegations, saying he collected the money as his fees. The Kochi police
commissioner is expected to submit his findings to the Kerala DGP, who will decide whether a first information report (FIR) needs to be filed.

Even a hint of corruption in the judiciary cannot be tolerated. What has been revealed here is large-scale corruption that could erode the very credibility of the judiciary. There must be a thorough investigation, and those found guilty must be subjected to exemplary punishment. At a time when the people are losing faith in the legislature and executive, their hopes rest on the country’s judiciary, the third pillar of democracy. These revelations have cast a shadow on their hopes. It’s essential to restore that faith. Brushing the issue under the carpet will irreparably damage the system. Judges and the lawyer fraternity must take the lead in cleansing the system, and police must do their job without hesitation.


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