The Supreme Court will hear on Friday a plea seeking direction to confiscate cent percent of black money, benami properties and disproportionate assets of accused person and stringent punishment should be awarded to them i.e. life imprisonment.
The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy will hear the matter. The petition, which has been filed by BJP spokesperson and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, states that the Cause of action accrued on 24.1.2020, when corruption watchdog Transparency International put India at 80th position in Corruption Perception Index. India ranked 66 in 1998, 72 in 1999, 69 in 2000, 71 in 2001, 71 in 2002, 83 in 2003, 90 in 2004, 88 in 2005, 70 in 2006, 72 in 2007, 85 in 2008, 84 in 2009, 87 in 2010, 95 in 2011, 94 in 2012, 87 in 2013, 85 in 2014, 76 in 2015, 79 in 2016, 81 in 2017, 78 in 2018.
“Due to weak and ineffective anti-corruption laws, India has never been ranked even among top 50 in Corruption Perception Index but the Centre has not strengthened them to weed out corruption, which brazenly offends rule of law as well as right to life, liberty, and dignity guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21,” avers in the plea.
It further states, “Due to weak and ineffective anti-corruption laws, even one district is not free from land mafias, drug and liquor mafias, mining mafias, medicine-hospital mafias, transfer-posting mafias, betting mafias, tender mafias, hawala mafias, school and coaching mafias, illegal immigration mafias, conversion mafias, superstition-black magic mafias and white-collar political mafias, who divide our society and country on the basis of religion race caste sex and place of birth.”
“The injury caused to people is extremely large because corruption is insidious plague, having wide range of corrosive effects on society. It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime like separatism, terrorism, Naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering and extortion, and other threats to human security to flourish. It hurts the EWS-BPL families disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermines government’s ability to provide basic services, seeds inequality and injustice and discourages foreign aid and investment,” states the plea.
Corruption is key element in economic underperformance and main obstacle in poverty alleviation. Right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 cannot be secured and the golden goals of Preamble cannot be achieved without curbing corruption: Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay
Therefore the petitioner seeks direction to:
A) ascertain the feasibility of confiscating cent percent black money, benami properties and disproportionate assets and awarding life imprisonment in offences relating to bribery, black money, benami property, disproportionate assets, tax evasion, money laundering, profiteering, grain hoarding, food adulteration, human and drug trafficking, black marketing, cheating, fraud, forgery, dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, benami transaction, corporate fraud and forensic fraud;
B) Alternatively, being custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, the Court may direct the Law Commission of India and/or Lokpal to examine and publish the best anti-corruption laws of the world, particularly the most effective provisions related to bribery, black money, benami property, disproportionate assets, tax evasion, money laundering, profiteering, grain hoarding, food adulteration, human-drug trafficking, black marketing, cheating, forgery, criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, benami transactions and fraud including corporate fraud and forensic fraud.