In a quite extraordinary statement, the Supreme Court yesterday said the only panacea to rid the country of corrupt elements is to hang a few of them from the lamp-post. “The law does not permit us to do it. Otherwise we would prefer to hang people like you from the lamp post,” a bench of Justices S B Sinha and Markandeya Katju remarked while hearing a bail plea moved by a government employee caught in the Bihar fodder scam.
“Everywhere, we have corruption. Nothing is free from corruption. Everybody wants to loot this country. The only solution for this menace is to hang some people in the public so that it acts as a deterrent on others,” Justice Katju said.
Should the SC be making such provocative statements? Would the SC have had the guts to say the same if, say, Lalu Prasad Yadav was in the dock? Is death the solution to end corruption? Will the sight of a few corrupt people being hanged prevent millions of others from extending their hand below the table? What should be the minimum criteria for such hangings?