In an age in which there is great public concern over the malaise of corruption, a cancer of the body politic, it is of great value in combating this cancer to know, appreciate and understand the existing framework of the law on public accountability, vigilance and prevention of corruption. PREFACE The Supreme Court and the High Courts as the sentinels on the qui vive have been exercising great vigilance and have laid down many salutary principles and come to the aid of the hapless citizen as he is ground between the wheels of the ever more overmighty, and deeply cynical and unresponsive State apparatus and political class. The citizen is driven to the writ courts even for government servants to exercise their regular powers and merely discharge their duties. It has been recorded in a number of places that between 60-70% of the about 3 crore cases pending in all the courts in India involve the State as a party!! Probably the most valuable set of principles laid down by the Supreme Court which can be employed in combating corruption, which grant actual practical relief to citizens or entail genuine punishment of errant ofﬁ cials are contained in the sub-heading ‘Erring Ofﬁ cial(s)/ Misconduct/Dereliction of duty/Misfeasance or Malfeasance in ofﬁ ce/Compensation/Relief/Costs/Probe/Punishment — Costs as Punishment — Personally Recoverable from Ofﬁ cers Concerned’, pp. 34-36, below Finally, realising the deep deep deep malaise of corruption which is killing our body politic, the trend which was noticed in the earlier volume of this work, has strengthened, accelerated and gained unanimous concurrence in the Supreme Court’s approach in imposing punishment in corruption cases: the Supreme Court and the High Courts have become extremely strict in respect of sentencing and technical issues when it comes to proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Acts, and have given up the approach of individualised sympathy, which completely undermined any successes that the already deeply ﬂ awed criminal justice system achieved against the cancer of our body politic.
The Supreme Court has reafﬁ rmed in recent extremely salutary judgments that once an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been proved, there is no scope for any court, including the Supreme Court under Art. 142 of the Constitution, to reduce the sentence below the statutory minimum. The standard arguments which used to repeatedly ﬁ nd favour with the Supreme Court, that there has been long delay in the proceedings, that the convicted public servant had lost his job, that the amount involved was trivial, and that the sentence be reduced on sympathetic or equitable grounds have again been resoundingly and categorically rejected as grounds for reducing the sentence in corruption cases. These salutary judgments are reported at (2012) 7 SCC 80; (2012) 8 SCC 547; (2012) 8 SCC 616; (2013) 4 SCC 642; (2012) 12 SCC 384; (2012) 12 SCC 390. It is hoped that this Update Volume 3 of this unique work compiling the law on public accountability, vigilance and prevention of corruption will aid the citizen and public-spirited persons further in their endless ﬁ ght against the State and State ofﬁ cials for fair, just and equal treatment. Acknowledgement An analytical, systematic and comprehensive work such as this necessarily involves the combined effort of several persons. Each one of them has contributed in his own way. The contribution of Kirti Shukla, Aartee Pathak and Sucheta Sarkar, is particularly appreciated. The merit and accuracy of this work therefore is the result of their dedication, commitment, sustained effort and team work. We warmly appreciate their efforts and contribution and they can justly feel proud of this publication. Appreciation, and our commitment We equally appreciate and value the goodwill and continued support received from our s ubscribers and readers. Besides, in trying to p rovide through Supreme Court CasesTM (SCC) and various digests all the rulings of the Supreme Court we seek to fulﬁ l our own commitment to serve the legal profession as well as the cause of justice and rule of law.