“Judiciousness demands that a convicted public servant be treated as corrupt until he is exonerated by a superior court.”
Rejecting the bail plea of AIADMK chief and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and three others, Justice Chandrashekara of the Karnataka High Court said, “When a public servant was found guilty of corruption after a judicial adjudicatory process conducted by a court of law, judiciousness demands that he should be treated as corrupt until he is exonerated by a superior court.” He was quoting the Supreme Court 2001 verdict in K.C. Sareen Vs CBI, Chandigarh.
The judge said though there was no statutory ban on suspending the sentence operating in corruption cases, verdicts of the apex court made it clear that the courts would have to apply their mind to the facts of each case. “The present case is not a fit case to suspend the sentence,” he declared.
He also quoted verdicts in which the Supreme Court had described corruption as a human rights violation that led to systematic economic offences. The court adjourned the hearing of the appeal to October 24.
Earlier, senior lawyers — Ram Jethmalani and Amit Desai — put forth extensive arguments highlighting alleged discrepancies in the trial court order. In particular, they argued that the Special Court’s evaluation of the assets court was “unscientific.” They claimed the judge assumed the “role of a witness” on many instances to prove what even the prosecution did not press.