India president: government to address corruption

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[JURIST] Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil [official website] announced Monday that the government will work to eradicate corruption. In her address to both houses of Parliament [official website] to open the budget session, Patil stated that India will take measures to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption [text, PDF] and that it will take other legislative and administrative measures necessary to improve transparency. The government has also set up a group of ministers charged with streamlining the judicial system [Indian Express report]. They will particularly work to expedite corruption cases brought against civil servants suspected of corruption and to amend current laws to facilitate bringing claims against public servants. Partial public funding of elections is also being considered as a method to improve transparency.

In 2008, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [official website] called for the establishment of special courts [JURIST report] to deal only with corruption charges, telling a convention of high-ranking justices and government ministers that, “apart from pendency and delayed justice, corruption is another challenge we face both in government and the judiciary.” Singh said addressing these problems would increases both domestic and foreign confidence in the court system. Following the prime minister’s remarks, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan [official profile] told reporters that Singh did not mean that the judiciary itself was corrupt, but rather that it has to deal with a large number of cases brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation [official website], which alleged government corruption. Balakrishnan went on to say that allegations of judicial corruption were rare and dealt with swiftly when they did arise.

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