Balgovind Prasad, 75, has been sent to prison for three months for accepting a bribe of 25 rupees (or 51 cents) from a street sweeper in 1985 to issue a federal medical certificate. He was originally sentenced to a year, but the court recently reduced the sentence due to the small size of the bribe.
The case never reached an actual trial until 1992 and Prasad was then allowed to appeal his sentence. Such delays are common in India.
The fact is that faked medical certificates are a real problem in India as are bribes. The fact that the bribe was so low is due to the economy, which 51 cents was obviously a sufficient amount for false documents. The question is whether it would have been better to strip the doctor of his license and impose a hefty fine for such a small bribe. Moreover, the length of delays in India should be the source of considerable alarm. This is obviously ridiculous for a relatively small case.
For the story, click here.
8 thoughts on “Seventy-Five-Year-Old Doctor Jailed in India for a 51 Cent Bribe Taken Twenty-Four Years Ago”
@Rafflaw, let me answer the question you have asked Doel.
Yes, delays are endemic in the Indian judicial system, and 7 years is par for the course. There is a tremendous backlog of cases which will take decades to clear, if ever.
Slightly off topic, but I also need to add that India’s higher judiciary – the high courts and the supreme court – are independent and generally free of the corruption that defines India. Our subordinate judiciary is another matter altogether, and it is at this level that the backlog is greatest, the corruption is maximum and procedural lapses are legendary.
“The vote of each adult citizen is counted towards the election of the ruling party in a multi-party system. If that is not the definition of democracy, I don’t know what is.”
There is more to democracy than holding elections in a multi-party system. Human rights and the rule of law are just as vital.
Thanks for your perspective on the good aspects of Colonialism in India. I am amazed that it took 7 years to get to trial. That is an incredible delay of justice. Doel, is the long wait for trial normal as the story suggests?
With due respect to Mike’s first comment, just because “Slumdog Millionaire” deals with the dirty underbelly of Bombay, and is directed by a Britisher, does not make it the established standard of depredation and corruption in India. I am not saying that India does not have problems with corruption. It does, and some of these problems do stem from colonization, but it is always easier to blame the past, instead of moving forward. Also, we are definitely not a “tentative democracy.” The vote of each adult citizen is counted towards the election of the ruling party in a multi-party system. If that is not the definition of democracy, I don’t know what is.
Generally, I agree that colonialism has its drawbacks, but there some aspects of the British rule without which Indian would not have been the developing powerhouse that it is. For instance, our roadways, postal service, and the excellent education system is a result of British rule, as well as the unification of a number of small kingdoms into one nation. Yes, they were also responsible for partition, so I don’t think there’s a white line as to whether colonialism was good or bad. Of course, I am no scholar of history.
Amen Buddha, all too true. This doesn’t even get to the psychological harm done to the imperialized and the imperialists, who to justify their plunder wrote great, long cultural histories out of the books. My first inkling of India’s greatness for instance was a paragraph in an Ancient History book when I was 16. It told of the city of Mohenj Hodaro (spelling might be off) that in 1,500 BCE had better sanitation than 18th Century CE Europe. The history book left India’s ancient history at that. Later I discovered the literature of the Vedas, Upanishads, the Ramayan and Mahabharata, they also at least date from around the same 1,500 BCE era. That’s just Indian culture/history. There’s the Chinese, Sumerians and the various African Kingdoms that are lost in the Eurocentrism that imperialism demanded and reflects the current state of historical education in the US.
“[S]till in the throes of an oligarchy solidified through millenia of outside occupation.”
Is there anything that imperial colonialism didn’t screw up? India’s not alone in that boat. Africa, anyone?
To paraphrase Bogart in Casablanca while discussing Peter Lorre’s sale of exit visas to refugees: “I don’t mind a [corrupt official.] I object to a cut-rate one.”
Go see “Slumdog Millionaire” for what I think is a valid representation of Indian corruption. It is a pity that the Indian Culture, which is at the least 4,500 years old and has produced a people of depth and intelligence, should have the level of depredation and corruption that they have. They are one of the world’s great countries, tentatively a democracy, but still in the throes of an oligarchy solidified through millenia of outside occupation.
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