Addressing the media on Wednesday, Rajasthan's chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, spoke about corruption being rampant in the judiciary. He added that he has heard of lawyers drafting judgments that are pronounced. The chief minister made these comments ahead of the Rajasthan State Assembly elections, slated for the year's end.
The chief minister questioned the state of the judiciary, irrespective of whether it pertains to lower courts or higher authorities. Gehlot underlined the gravity of the situation, terming it "very serious."
CM Gehlot said, "Corruption is rampant in the judiciary today. I have heard that some lawyers themselves take the judgment in writing and the same judgment is pronounced."
In response to the chief minister's statements, Mahendra Shandilya, the president of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association, expressed his disappointment and urged Gehlot to substantiate his claims with evidence. Speaking with Indian Express (IE), Shandilya called the remarks "unfortunate" and emphasised the importance of presenting specific details if such allegations are made.
Shandilya told IE, "It is a very unfortunate statement by a very responsible person who is the chief minister. He should not make such sweeping statements. If he has any evidence, he is welcome to give the name of the honourable judge."
The chief minister, however, had not elaborated on his comments regarding the judiciary nor provided any examples of where this may have occurred.
The chief minister stated that agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax department conduct raids without making prior assessments, tarnishing their reputations.
Taking a jibe at the Centre, he added that while they were proud of the agencies, the Centre has "worsened their condition."
Earlier in the month, the ED had conducted raids in Chhattisgarh, where Gehlot had commented that these forms of raids were common ahead of state Assembly polls. As the raids coincided with Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel's birthday, Gehlot went on to add that the raids were his "birthday gift."
Rajasthan's CM also supported allegations made by BJP MLA Kailash Meghwal. Kailash Meghwal had accused Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal of corruption, calling him "corrupt number one" and vowing to write to the Prime Minister for his removal.
Speaking on the allegations, Gehlot said, "He is right. We are getting it (the allegation) probed." Adding that he has been made aware of the corruption during Arjun Ram Meghwal's time.
(With inputs from agencies)