Plea in Supreme Court seeks life imprisonment for offences like bribery, tax evasion

NEW DELHI: A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Narendra Modi government (Centre or government of India) to ascertain the feasibility of confiscating black money, benami properties and disproportionate assets.

The petition, which is likely to come up for hearing in the coming days, has also sought life imprisonment for offences such as bribery, black money, benami property, tax evasion, money laundering, profiteering, grain hoarding, food adulteration, human and drug trafficking, black marketing and cheating.

The petition was filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in view of corruption watchdog Transparency International placing India at 80 in Corruption Perception Index earlier this year.

Due to weak and ineffective anti-corruption laws, India has never been ranked even among top the 50 in the Corruption Perception Index but the Centre has not strengthened the laws to weed-out the menace of corruption, which brazenly offends rule of law as well as right to life, liberty and dignity guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21, it said.

“Due to the weak and ineffective anti-corruption laws, none of the welfare schemes and government departments are free from corruption,” it said.

“The right to live happily with dignity is guaranteed under Article 21 but due to massive corruption, our ranking in Happiness Index is very low,” the petition, filed through advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey, said.

It claimed that corruption has devastating effects on right to life, liberty, dignity, and it badly affects social and economic justice, fraternity, dignity of individual, unity and national integration, thus offends fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21.

“The injury caused to people is extremely large because corruption is an insidious plague, having a wide range of corrosive effects on society.

“It undermines democracy and rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crimes like separatism, terrorism, naxalism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, kidnapping, money laundering and extortion, and other threats to human security to flourish,” it said.

It added that the corruption hurts EWS-BPL families disproportionately by diverting the funds intended for development, undermines government’s ability to provide basic services, seeds inequality and injustice, and discourages foreign aids and investment.

Source: Press Trust of India

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