Supreme Court okays assets seizure of graft-accused before conviction
The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can bring special laws to control corruption, which it said was eating away the fundamental core of elective democracy and constitutional governance.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant upheld laws passed by Bihar and Odisha assemblies authorising the probe agencies to confiscate ill-gotten properties, including houses of corrupt public officials, even before their conviction in graft cases. The law was framed to deal with cases involving those occupying high public or political office.
The bench held that there were no infirmities in the law and turned down a bunch of petitions filed by those whose properties had been confiscated. “In a way, corruption becomes national economic terror. This social calamity warrants a different control, and hence, the legislature comes up with special legislation with stringent provisions,” the bench said.
“...in the context of the present Orissa Act, it is associated with high public office or with political office that are occupied by people who control the essential dynamics of power — which can be a useful weapon to amass wealth adopting illegal means. In such a situation, the argument that they were being put in a different class and should be tried in a separate special court solely because of the alleged offence, if nothing else, is a self-defeating one,” the bench said.
Affirming that there should be zero tolerance towards any kind of corruption, the bench said, “A democratic republic polity hopes and aspires to be governed by a government which is run by the elected representatives who do not have any involvement in serious criminal offences or offences relating to corruption, casteism, societal problems affecting the sovereignty of the nation and many other offences.”
Medical negligence cases rise by 400 per cent in the past decade
A recent study by National Law University, Bangalore, found that there has been a 400 per cent rise in the number of medical negligence cases filed in consumer courts in India in the last 10 years. Against this backdrop, when Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) conducted a survey among 1,200 resident doctors on what they thought was the primary reasons behind the rise in medical negligence, 30 per cent of them thought that it was due to the over-expectation of relatives, who felt it was the obligation of doctors to make patients 100 per cent fit since they had borne the high medical expenses.
On the other hand, a majority (40 per cent) of the patients surveyed felt that doctors had become more negligent in providing treatment to patients. At the same time, 30 per cent agreed that they had overexpectations from doctors.
Dr Sagar Mundada, president of MARD, said, “Both the groups are right from their own perspectives. There has been growing distrust and confusion between patients and doctors. This has increased further due to the corporate hospitals where the relation between doctors and patients has changed into consumer–service provider relationship.”
Twenty per cent resident doctors said that the trust deficit was because patients did not understand the technical details of a case and felt that there was negligence on the doctors’ part. “This is also linked to why patients and their relatives have high expectations. While doctors have the responsibility to explain the technicalities of the treatment, they do not have time because of the huge gap in doctor–patient ratio. This is especially the case in public hospitals where the doctor-patient ratio is 1:10,5000,” said Dr Mundada.