Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam has said that corruption is the biggest threat to democracy, while adding that in a healthy democracy, institutions must be independent and strong that help facilitate good governance, accountability and transparency.
"However, six decades of independence in our country have witnessed a steep rise in the magnitude and complexity of corruption in public life. Values in public life and perspective of those values have undergone tremendous change. It seems that the consequences of corruption are well known, perhaps not well realised," he said during his valedictory address here on Wednesday at the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) Golden Jubilee celebrations. "It's because either we have given up hope of making our country a less corrupt or we have come to terms with corruption, accepting it as a facet of life. Both these attitudes are hazardous for working of democracy," he added.
He further exhorted that the Central Vigilance Commission must work more vigorously for safeguarding the trust of the people. "While anti-corruption agencies are striving to address the widespread problem of corruption, their task cannot be truly accomplished without active participation of all the stake holders. It must be realised that corruption in our country not only threats the concept of constitutional governance, but also degrades the institution of democracy and the Rule of Law," he said.
Sathasivam further noted that the role of media in combating corruption is equally significant, and added that an unbiased, ethical and fair publication can result into a virtuous cycle of transparent policy-making, clean government and faster economic growth. "Today, we are in a transitional phase where old values are crumbling and new values are formed. Media also plays extremely vital role in our lives. It is like a mirror to the society, which reflects contemporary thoughts and actions, and shapes people's perception. It wields enormous power to affect their opinion. In such a backdrop, media owes huge responsibility of disseminating true and fair information about scams or scandals," he added.
Union State Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension and Prime Minister's Office V Narayansamy also addressed the gathering. Narayansamy said that India is credited with having made considerable progress in terms of economic reforms, adding that more focus has been given to Administrative Reforms and effective Legal Frameworks. "The newly enacted Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, to my mind, will be a potent weapon to take care of the process of institution building, as according to this Act, there will be a Lokpal at the Centre, and each State Government will be under obligation to appoint a Lokayukta," he said.
"Also, every State should have a State Vigilance Commission, on lines of the Central Vigilance Commission, to look into cases of corruption against State Government officials," he added.
Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, Vigilance Commissioner JM Garg, Secretary, CVC KD Tripathi, Former CVCs and Vigilance Commissioners, among others officers of CVC were also present on this occasion.