Pundits, professors, and politicians in the West are debating whether corruption is a crime against humanity. But in India there’s no doubt about the answer. Yes, corruption violates human rights.
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court panel headed by Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan (left) said:
‘Corruption is not only a punishable offense but it also undermines human rights, indirectly violating them, and systematic corruption, is a human rights violation in itself, as it leads to systematic economic crimes.’
Here’s a report from the Hindustan Times.
In a case dating back to 1999, the Supreme Court overturned an order by the Bombay high court that freed a tax official convicted of bribery, after another court had imposed a two-year jail sentence.
Balakrishna Dattatrya Kumbhar — the superintendent of Central Excise in Mumbai — now faces prison for possessing disproportionate assets.
Outside India, the debate about corruption and human rights continues.
Commentators, academics, and activists have been pressing the case that grand corruption should be internationally outlawed.
The Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court in the Hague extends to ‘crimes against humanity’ but no one knows if that includes graft. So the ICC has never been used to prosecute kleptocracy.
But if more countries follow the lead of India’s Supreme Court, change may be coming.