OK to be corrupt but unforgivable even when misinterpreted as disrespecting national sentiment, says Narayana Murthy

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New Delhi | Published: December 15, 2018 2:39:31 PM

Murthy recalled a personal incident happened 12 years ago, where a case was filed against him alleging that he had insulted the National Anthem when the instrumental version was played at a function in Infosys.

Murthy also referred to a PIL against cricketer Sachin Tendulkar after he had attended a dinner where the tablecloth had bands of colours of the Tricolour. (File photo)

Infosys co-founder, N R Narayana Murthy, on Friday underlined over the fact where several cases that are filed for allegedly showing disrespect to national sentiments (Anthem, Emblem, etc.) and on the other hand corrupt and dishonest are left out from public ire. Murthy was delivering a lecture where he said that Indians are ‘unduly sensitive’ of patriotism and make it ‘unforgivable’ and ‘it is okay to be corrupt and dishonest’.

According to a report by The Indian Express, Murthy said “Indians are ‘unduly sensitive’ of patriotism and make it ‘unforgivable’ if something is misinterpreted as a disrespect to national sentiment, even though ‘it is perfectly okay to be corrupt or to be dishonest.’ He said that these types of cases are filed on the basis of complaints by ‘rabble-rousers, and the courts should stop admitting such cases.

“In India, it is perfectly OK to be corrupt, or to be dishonest – that is nothing that brings you down, because we have seen it in ample numbers day in and day out. But it is unforgivable if you did something that may be misinterpreted as disrespecting any national sentiment,” Indian Express quoted Murthy as saying.

Murthy recalled a personal incident happened 12 years ago, where a case was filed against him alleging that he had insulted the National Anthem when the instrumental version was played at a function in Infosys. “This went from the lowest level court to high court to Supreme Court over 18 months until the case was dismissed in my favour. I ended up spending Rs 48 lakh as lawyer’s fees,” he said adding that the cost of litigation in India is ‘unaffordable for the common man,’ PTI reported.

Murthy also referred to a PIL against cricketer Sachin Tendulkar after he had attended a dinner where the tablecloth had bands of colours of the Tricolour. There was a PIL against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor since Tharoor held his right hand over his chest in a ‘typical American way’ to show respect to the national anthem, he said.

While delivering the third V R Venkatakrishnan Memorial lecture on ‘Indian judicial system – Musings of a layperson, Murthy also highlighted the high number of vacancies across various courts and pending litigations and said it is important to also ensure productivity of judges for reducing delays.

Murthy stressed the need to modernise ‘archaic and vaguely drafted laws’ and train bureaucracy in drafting precise, concise, unambiguous and easily-understandable laws. “We have to modernise our archaic and vaguely drafted laws, train our bureaucracy in drafting precise, concise, unambiguous and easily-understandable laws, train our law students, court associates of judges and entry-level judges better and introduce tools to improve the work productivity in courts,” and added that many of these laws were drafted during the British rule with the aim of curbing the freedom of the people.

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