FROM OUTLOOK WEBSITE
Here, lobbyist Niira Radia is chatting with Sunil Arora, former chairman of Air India and a serving bureaucrat. They are discussing corruption in the judiciary. Arora is telling her how judgements were fixed in the sealing cases in New Delhi when commercial areas and establishments in residential areas were sealed on the orders of erstwhile Supreme Court Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal. Arora informs Radia that a Delhi High Court judge, Justice Vijender Jain, was paid off Rs 9 crore in a sealing case by a middleman. The favourable judgement was written one month before it was delivered; the middleman was even given an advance copy. Justice Jain is referred to as Justice Sabharwal’s man.
Sunil Arora: Haan, ab to higher judiciary mein corruption bahut ho gayi na…
Niira Radia: Haan?
SA: Higher judiciary mein corruption bahut ho gayi na…
NR: Bahut zyaada, it’s like crazy situation…
SA: In the sealing cases, one chap had told me that he’ll get this judgement after one month.
SA: And he told me how much he had paid to whom.
NR: My god!
SA: I said, yaar, tum mazaak kar rahe ho. He said main aapko bata raha hoon ye judgement hai, and he broadly outlined the judgement…ki, this is to be pronounced after one month. To aap dekh lena, main khud hi copy le aaoonga uski…tab next time jab ho jayegi, woh le aaya copy…. He showed me, that order. He had paid 9 cr…as he claimed, at the residence.
NR: Kaun tha yeh?
SA: I mean this litigant had paid Rs 9 crore to that high court judge in Delhi.
NR: Good god!
SA: This is what he claimed…ki that I paid, at his home.
NR: Kaun sa judgement tha?
SA: Koi tha land deal, real estate ka.
NR: Pathetic ha? Yeh hai na, yeh Upendra Rai (a journalist) ka brother-in-law, jo bhi hai uska…cousin brother—Pradip Rai—yehi to kaam karta hai.
SA: And this gentleman ultimately became chief justice!
NR: My god!
SA: Jisne judgement diya tha…he became CJ (chief justice), abhi retire hua tha, Vijender Jain, naam bhi bataa deta hoon.
NR: Haan, I know.
SA: Jo Sabharwal (CJI Y.K. Sabharwal) ka khaas aadmi tha.
NR: Haan uske upar to problem hua tha na beech mein?
SA: Nahin par woh (Vijender Jain) to ban gaya CJ (of Punjab and Haryana High Court), ab to CJ ban ke retire bhi ho gaya hai. Kya farak pada…
The personal angle is that in 2004 my lawsuit against Tata Sons for my arbitrary sacking (please refer to my earlier blog Gorillagram from Himalayas…) came up for pleading before Justice Vijender Jain (after many a summer, meaning Justices Mudgal, Nandi, Sharma…) On 4th October, Justice Jain, to my delirious delight upheld my right for compensation for unjust termination from job and ordered (hold your breath) the defendant to pay 6 lakhs, a sum of money which even then was just a piffle. I rejoiced because it was a victory of sorts, the third time when I extracted money from an entity famous for its philanthropy. The second was due to the help received from a CPI Rajya Sabha member and the then Labour Minister Sharad Yadav (to say nothing of the e-mails sent to the PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee) who urged the PF Commissioner to force the defendants to pay my provident fund dues. Even after the use of such heavy artillery, the yield was just about 56k, one-tenth of what was actually due. The skinflints said that since the matter was before the court, they were paying what I contributed to the fund.
And the first was due to Justice Nandi, who got tired of their delaying tactics, ordered them to pay me 5k.
Digression over, back to my case before Justice Jain. On hearing the award, the defendant’s rookie lawyer almost wept. In a shaky voice, he beseeched the judge for some time to consult his client. So, a date in November was fixed for the closing.
Then something happened, I don’t exactly know what. The case was transferred from one justice to another…to end up finally with Justice Madan Lokur, who overturned the verdict (please see rukol nadam as balban, chepeyja’s blog in wordpress). I appealed against it, but there was no money to continue the fight.
The point is, I appeared a number of times before Justice Vijender Jain. And I don’t believe that he had take 9 into 10 to the power of 7, Sunil Arora or no Sunil Arora.