The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Centre, States and Union Territories to set up expert committees to suggest steps for improving India’s “pathetic” ranking on the global Corruption Perception Index.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit declined the plea and said that the petitioner can file a representation to the concerned functionary in this regard. “Considering the scope of Article 32 petition, we find it extremely difficult to entertain this. It is thus dismissed,” said the apex court.
The public interest litigation was filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking the constitution of expert committees to examine good practices of the countries, ranked among the top 20 in the Corruption Perception Index, and take steps to weed out bribery, black money generation, etc.
During the hearing, the CJI remarked, “Let’s start with this, how do we weed out corruption? We ask Law Commission to look into the matter and then what? We have specialized laws already.”
The plea said that India has been ranked at the 80th position among 180 countries and territories in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) prepared by Transparency International. It is based on perceived levels of public sector corruption in these countries, according to experts and business people.
It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organized crime like separatism, terrorism, Naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering, extortion, and other threats to human security to flourish, the plea said.
It further added that corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermines the government’s ability to provide basic services, seeds inequality and injustice and discourages foreign aids and investment.