Help regarding some case law and drafting of the following case
SWAMI RAGHUDEV V. UNION OF INDIANA
1. Corruption in Indiana is a major issue that adversely affects its economy. Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under colour of law or involves trading in influence.
2. Opposition parties, the media and NGOs called for the enactment of a new law to check corruption. In this climate, social activist KANNA decided to stage a ‘hunger strike’ until the Central Government agreed to introduce in Parliament and pass what came to be known as the ‘Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill’: a law which would put in place an ombudsman like body to establish an anti-corruption grievance redressal system. Swami RAGHUDEV, a spiritual leader renowned for his teachings in yoga, also decided to join KANNA’s movement against corruption and participated in the hunger strike.
3. With public pressure mounting on the Central Government, the Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill, 2011 was passed by Parliament without much debate or discussion. The Bill provided that an independent body, known as the Civilian’s Ombudsman would be formed primarily to tackle complaints dealing with corruption of public servants. The body was to be elected by a special selection committee consisting of the Prime Minister of Indiana, the Leader of Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament, judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court and the outgoing members of the Ombudsman itself (after the first selection process). On receiving a complaint and conducting a preliminary investigation, the Civilian’s Ombudsman was empowered to: (i) initiate prosecution against public servants or private individuals or corporations allegedly involved in acts of corruption (ii) order cancellation of a contract, license or agreement which was the subject matter of investigation (iii) blacklist a private firm or company which it believed was involved in an act of corruption (iv) suspend a public servant from service pending a decision by a court of law. Additionally, Civilian’s Ombudsman had the power to issue search warrants for the search and inspection of any premises subject to certain specified conditions. The power to investigate and prosecute complaints against judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts was also conferred upon it.
4. Soon after the Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill entered into force, Swami Raghudev joined the single largest opposition party at the Centre. He contested elections to the Lower House of the Parliament of Indiana and won by a resounding majority. Barely six months after his election, had reports emerged in sections of the press that Swami Raghudev had allegedly accepted illegal gratification for the performance of his official duties. This coincided with a widespread debate amongst legal scholars across Indiana about the institution of the Civilian’s Ombudsman being undemocratic and one which ‘possessed too much power for its own good’.
5. Much to the surprise of a large segment of the public, Swami RAGHUDEV filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of Indiana challenging the constitutional validity of the Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill, 2011. In a public announcement, he subsequently said that after deep thought and reflection, he had come to believe that the Bill in its present form would ‘weaken rather than reinforce’ the democratic set up in Indiana.
Swami RAGHUDEV put forth the following contentions:
a) The Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill, 2011 violated the rules of natural justice embodied in Article 14 of the Constitution.
b) The Bill had the effect of depriving Civilians of Indiana of their right to freedom of trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
c) The Bill contravened the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Union of Indiana, however, contended that:
a) The Civilian’s Ombudsman Bill, 2011 did not violate the rules of natural justice embodied in Article 14 of the Constitution.
b) The Bill did not contravene the right to freedom of trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
c) The Bill was in consonance with Article 21 of the Constitution.
Note: The laws of Indiana are in pari materia with the laws of the Republic of India. Participants are expected to restrict their arguments to the contentions enumerated above.
Asked 2 years ago in Civil Law from Mumbai, Maharashtra