Corruption has spread its wings in all the key areas of the State and is a hindrance to the development of the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said.
The apex court said the menace of corruption paralyses the functioning of the key areas of the state administration.
“Corruption has spread its tentacles almost on all the key areas of the State and it is an impediment to the growth of investment and development of the country.
“If the conduct of administrative authorities is righteous and duties are performed in good faith with the vigilance and awareness that they are public trustees of people’s rights, the issue of lack of accountability would themselves fade into insignificance,” it said.
A bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi made these critical remarks in a judgement upholding the conviction of former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Neera Yadav and another IAS officer Rajiv Kumar in the cases arising out of an over two-decade old land allotment scam in Noida.
The court said tackling corruption is going to be a priority task for the government and it has to take “stern” steps to combat the menace.
“The government has been making constant efforts to deal with the problem of corruption. However, the constant legislative reforms and strict judicial actions have still not been able to completely uproot the deeply rooted evil of corruption. This is the area where the government needs to be seen taking unrelenting, stern and uncompromising steps.
“Leaders should think of introducing good and effective leadership at the helm of affairs; only then benefits of liberalisation and various programmes, welfare schemes and programmes would reach the masses. Lack of awareness and supine attitude of the public has all along been found to be to the advantage of the corrupt,” the court said.
It said due to the uncontrolled spread of consumerism and fall in moral values, corruption has taken deep roots in the society.
“What is needed is a re-awakening and recommitment to the basic values of tradition rooted in ancient and external wisdom. Unless people rise against bribery and corruption, society can never be rid of this disease. The people can collectively put off this evil by resisting corruption by any person, howsoever high he or she may be,” the bench said.
It also expressed concern over the issue of nepotism and said that granting favours to “near and dear” deprives others of a career opportunity.
“A particular kind of corruption that has become more rampant of late is nepotism to promote the interests of those near and dear to them. Nepotism is in a sense a greater evil since it involves dispersal of favours by patrons amongst their arm coterie, depriving others of a career or office they deserve more.
"The practice of promoting the interest of few individuals to the detriment of many others is wholly reprehensible and deserves to be condemned," the top court said.