'Give 1-crore, I will make you a Judge'

Kashmir Times. Dated: 11/13/2017 1:02:35 AM

HARYANA, Nov 12 (Agencies): Fake lawyers. And now touts who offer judgeship? The word ‘fake’, in this case, does not denote an unregistered charlatan, the sort we saw in our previous expose of the rot in our legal system. Rather, we mean junior lordships who may have received their judicial peerage by going through the system. Preparing for an exam, writing it, and acing it. But for a minor ethical infraction that makes all the difference between justice and its shadowy negative.
What if the exam was rigged—if the question papers were leaked selectively to the paying customer?
This tale unfolds in the Punjab-Haryana arena. Woven into it is a controversial former judge who once gave the slip to the CBI by escaping over a compound wall and who now runs a coaching institute; a senior court official who had custody of the question papers; an aspirant who strikes the actual deals with other aspirants and people suspiciously topping the exam “with minimum errors”.
During the exam on July 16, Suman realised the questions shared with her were part of the paper. Before that, it could have been a fraud.
On November 6, a Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice of India heard the case and issued notice to all parties—including the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the governments of Haryana and Chandigarh. Without notice, the CBI was also present in court. But it was in late July that the alleged leak of the preliminary examination question paper for the Haryana judicial services became cause for concern. And the tortuous trail it has spawned shines a torch into the heart of an unlit place.
Now, question papers being leaked is not big news in India. But judgeship for sale should have attracted more attention. The Punjab & Haryana HC recruits to the lower and upper judiciary through a process overseen by a recruitment committee of judges, led by a senior judge. This exam was meant to choose lower court judges—those who grant bail, adjudicate property disputes, convict criminals and so forth. In short, the first line of justice delivery.
The crux of the story: an aspirant claims she was offered both the preliminary and final question papers for Rs 1 crore. The offer was allegedly made by those who later topped the exams “with minimum error”. The person who offered the deal is linked by 760 calls and messages with the high court’s registrar (recruitment), who has admitted to sole custody of the question papers when it was leaked, as per the HC’s registrar-general cum registrar (vigilance).

 

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