gavel_thThe higher echelons of the judiciary voluntarily agreed to disclose their assets after a full court room meeting of Supreme Court judges yesterday. The move will allow the public to view the movable and immovable property of judges and dependants on the official website of the Supreme Court.

Advocate and Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi told Legally India: "I'm not speaking as a spokesperson, but personally I welcome this move, although belated.

"The judiciary has risen to the occasion and removed all unnecessary misgivings. There cannot be a regime of disclosure without access. I’m happy that the stage is now set for a belated conclusion of an unsavory and unnecessary controversy."

In a historic first, the move may finally lay to rest the controversy that surrounded the issue since the tabling of the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill, 2009, in Rajya Sabha.

The Bill proposed that Supreme Court and High Court judges would declare their assets to their respective chief justices. It was envisaged that the High Court Chief Justice would report to the Chief Justice of India, who would in turn report to the President of India.

Intended to introduce financial accountability into the higher judiciary, the original proposal from the judges was marred by a rider that banned enquiries about their assets. This was claimed to prevent any malicious litigation directed towards members of the judiciary but ultimately caused the Bill to be shelved.

The public fallout over this issue between the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and the Karnataka HC Judge Kumar could have been a direct cause on the unexpected resolution of the matter.

Earlier this week the Chief Justice had called Justice DV Shylendra Kumar "publicity crazy" after the Karnataka High Court judge questioned the Chief Justice's right to oppose judges' declaration of assets.

Punjab and Haryana High Court judge M.K. Kannan followed by posting details of his personal wealth on a website.

A day later, Madras High Court judge K. Chandru said that he was willing to reveal details of his assets.

Related Articles
Click to show 2 comments
at your own risk
(alt+shift+c)

NB: By reading the comments you agree that they are the personal views and opinions of readers, for which Legally India has no liability whatsoever. Because anonymous comments may be biased or unreliable, you agree that you will not allow any comment(s) to affect your estimation of any person(s) or organisation(s). If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to administrator' below the comment with your objection and we will review it as soon as practicable.

reader comments:comments rss feedrefresh

Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments. Show latest comments only (beta)

1
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 John 2009-08-27 17:06
No word about periodic declaration of assets. One-time disclosure proves nothing.
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link
2
 
Show?
Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Legal Dodo 2009-08-27 19:05
I commend Justice Shylendra Kumar for publicly opposing the views of the Chief Justice of India on the issue. Incidentally, he has gone ahead and disclosed his assets. While this is sort of path breaking, reports reveal that Justice Kumar's declared assets total in the range of Rs. 50 lakhs. The assets declared include a 50 x 80 site in a posh suburb in Bangalore, two acres of land and a house. The house has been valued at Rs. 7.5 lakhs!! These valuations seem abysmally low. The site itself is probably worth over a crore of rupees going by today's market value. Perhaps, the acquisition value is what was disclosed. Anyway, something still does not seem transparent.

Legal Dodo
Reply | Quote | Report to LI | #  link

Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments.

Add comment (Alt+Shift+A)

We and fellow readers love when you share your thoughts in a comment but please:
  • be nice to other readers and humans who likely have feelings,
  • use full English sentences and words, and
  • abide by Legally India's full terms and conditions in using the site.