Friday, January 29, 2016

Solar scam in Kerala

There used to be a belief that Kerala was one of the least corrupt states in India. High literacy ratio and victory of different political parties in consecutive general elections were depicted as reasons for this. Every Keralite was supposed to be intensely political.

The causes have not changed. But the state is perceptibly becoming more corrupt. We may say that there is now no state in India which can claim to be least corrupt or can be blamed to be most corrupt. Each state is competing with every other state to turn more venal.

Kerala's Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy had the reputation of being less shady. The solar scam has tarnished his image. It is alleged that he received bribe to the extent of Rs.1.90 crore. Would a chief minister stoop to receive such a low amount? The Vigilance Court judge S.S.Vasan took an ethical and legal view and ordered that Chandy and another minister needed to be investigated. The judge was careful enough to say that it was too early to establish guilt or innocence.

The Kerala High Court thinks otherwise. On appeal, the High Court has stayed the Vigilance Court's order. It could have stopped there. Unfortunately, it passed strictures on Vasan for 'exceeding his limits' and has quoted Supreme Court guidelines. Insulted, Vasan is seeking voluntary retirement. The High Court has exceeded its brief by misreading the direction of the Vigilance Court and as such interfered in the normal judicial process.

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