Chandigarh: Known for his controversial statements, justice Markandey Katju (retd), a former judge of the Supreme Court (SC), claimed here on Monday that 50% of the higher judiciary consisting of SC and high court judges was corrupt.
Katju, a former chairman of the Press Council of India, was addressing lawyers at the Punjab and Haryana high court during a function organised by the Lawyers for Democracy, a young lawyers’ group, to mark Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary.
“My assessment is that 50% of the higher judiciary has become corrupt,” Katju said, while claiming that he had got a dossier on Chief Justice of India HL Dattu’s alleged properties and given it to then law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and others, but to no avail.
“I was targeted by former chief justice RM Lodha for my views. Let it all be investigated. SC judges are annoyed. But I am not bothered…,” Katju said. He also slammed the trend of judges and their relatives practising in the same court.
Katju, who was twice interrupted by some lawyers sitting in the Bar room, did not spare even Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose. At least 10 times during his one-and-a-half-hour speech, he termed Gandhi as a “fraud” and blamed him for the Hindu-Muslim divide during the freedom struggle. “He (Gandhi) was a British agent who propagated Hindu religion. He was not the Father of the Nation. It was Akbar who was the real father of the nation… It’s nonsense to say that Gandhi gave us freedom. Gandhi, in fact, changed the path of the freedom struggle laid down by freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh,” Katju said.
On Bose, the former judge said, “He became overambitious. He kept hobnobbing with Hitler. But Hitler did not show any interest in him.”
Talking about politicians of the country, he said, “They should have been shot long ago. A majority of them are rogues and rascals,” while claiming that the entire system had collapsed and he saw a revolt in the near future.
Meanwhile, Katju asked the Punjab and Haryana high court Bar Association to approach the governments of both states on the issue of conducting court proceedings in Hindi and Punjabi. “If they do not agree, launch an agitation,” he said, giving examples of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where court proceedings are conducted in Hindi. However, he said lawyers should have the option of choosing a language.