The Supreme Court will examine a PIL that claims India has dismal rankings on global indices with respect to combating “corruption”, “illegal gun ownership”, “illegal migration”, “intentional homicides”, “traffic-related deaths”, ”democracy”, “hunger” and “world happiness”.
Citing a recent report of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, the petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay urges the apex court to issue a direction to the Centre, states and the Union Territories to set up district-level “anti-corruption” wings to tackle the allegedly growing menace of graft in the country.
The website of the Berlin-based Transparency International describes the outfit as “a global movement working in over 100 countries to end the injustice of corruption”.
The PIL has been listed for formal hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit on October 31.
The petitioner urged the court to issue a “… direction to the Centre, states and UTs to establish special anti-corruption courts in every district to decide the cases relating to black money, benami property, bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, profiteering”, or “alternatively, being protector of fundamental rights, the court may be pleased to direct the High Courts to take appropriate steps to decide the cases relating to black money within one year”.
Transparency International defines the Corruption Perceptions Index “as the most widely used global corruption ranking in the world. It measures how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived to be, according to experts and businesspeople”.
“Each country’s score is a combination of at least 3 data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments. These data sources are collected by a variety of reputable institutions, including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum,” the website says.
Upadhyay told The Telegraph that while in the case of corruption he has cited Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the “rankings” he has mentioned on other indices had been “obtained from Wikipedia”.
The PIL says: “Due to long pendency and ineffective anti-corruption laws, India has never been ranked even among top 50 in corruption perception index but Centre-States have not taken appropriate steps to weed out the menace of corruption, which brazenly offends rule of law as well as right to life, liberty (and) dignity guaranteed under Articles 14 (right to equality).
“Due to long pendency of cases and week anti-corruption laws, none of the welfare schemes and government departments are corruption-free, due to which India ranked 1 in illegal gun ownership (and) illegal immigration, 2 in intentional homicides and traffic-related deaths, 3 in CO2 emission and 4 in slavery index.
“Due to massive corruption, we ranked 43 in quality of life index, 51 in democracy index, 68 in rule of law, 84 in air quality index, 102 in hunger index, 115 in human capital index, 125 in gender discrimination, 130 in life expectancy index, 134 in youth development index, 136 in global peace index, 139 in GDP per capita, 142 in press freedom index, 144 in world happiness index, 145 in education index, 168 in literacy rate and 177 in environment performance index.”
The PIL claimed that India’s ranking on “World Happiness Index” was 140 in 2019, 133 in 2018, 122 in 2017, 118 in 2016, 117 in 2015, 120 in 2014, 111 in 2013, and 133 in 2012.
In the “Global Peace Index”, India ranked 141 in 2019, 137 in 2018, 137 in 2017, 141 in 2016, 144 in 2015, 142 in 2014, 141 in 2013, 144 in 2012, 147 in 2011, 144 in 2010, 144 in 2009, 143 in 2008 and 107 in 2007, according to the PIL.
“Rule of Law is integral part of Article 14 but due to wild corruption, our ranking in ‘Rule of Law Index’ is extremely low. India ranked 66th in 2011, 67th in 2012, 66th in 2013, 68th in 2014, 59th in 2015, 66th in 2016, 66th in 2017, 66th in 2018, 68th in 2019 and 69th in 2020,” the PIL said.
The PIL claimed that the total budget of the Centre, the states and the local bodies was “around Rs 70 lakh crore, but due to massive corruption in every department, around 10% of this budget (Rs 7 lakh crore) becomes black money”.