CJI: SC/HC Judges free to make assets public

Corporate Laws and Indirect Taxation Laws Practitioner.

 Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan reiterated that every judge of Supreme court or High Court is free to make his or her assets public and he has not prevented anyone from doing so.

Mr Justice Balakrishnan was talking to the media persons after attending a seminar on "Judicial review of administrative action." Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, however, refused to comment on the issue. 

Asked whether the government would make it mandatory for the judges of the superior courts to make their assets public like other public servants without any protection as demanded by the CJI, the Law Minister declined to respond. 

The CJI has described Mr Justice P V Shaylendera Kumar of Karnataka High Court who has questioned the authority of CJI to speak for the entire judiciary, as publicity crazy. 

Justice K Kanan of Punjab and Haryana High Court has become the first judge in India to make his assets public. He has disclosed that he and his wife have assets worth Rs 14 lakh. 

The CJI, in an interview, had stated that he was prepared to put the assets of all Supreme Court judges on a web site if the majority so desired. 

He has been pleading for certain safeguards for the judges so that unscrupulous litigants do not harass them.

Corporate Laws and Indirect Taxation Laws Practitioner.

  CJI urged to cut short unsavoury debate over assets

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan was asked by a predecessor to cut "short this unsavoury debate" over assets most judges have no hesitation in declaring. 

The appeal from retired CJI J S Verma came in a television interview, in which he said he was "sure that most of the judges... 

have no hesitation in declaring their assets in public." As CJI in May 1997, Justice Verma had led the Supreme Court judges in unanimously adopting a resolution requiring them to declare their assets to the CJI. 

Since then, Justice Verma has more than once clarified that the resolution was not intended to conceal information from public or keep it secret or out of public glare. 

A more recent submission by the Supreme Court Registrar General in the Delhi High Court held that declaration of assets be "in accordance with due procedure laid down by a law." It asked for clarification as to the authority to which assets be declared as well as a clear definition of what constitutes assets, the form in which the declaration be made and proper safeguards, checks and balances to prevent misuse. 

Justice Verma was quoted by CNN-IBN as saying that a "wrong impression" was gaining ground "as if we judges do not want to do it." "Many judges have talked to me personally, both of Supreme Court and High Court. They have all said that they want to do it. The CJI as the head of the judicial family leads by example that really is the real moral authority. I only wish that the CJI cuts short this unsavoury debate and makes a declaration himself." 





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