Chief justice not averse to judges declaring their assets

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Seeking to set aside the controversy over official disclosure of judges’ wealth, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan Friday said he was not averse to the judges of the higher judiciary declaring their assets.”I do not have any problem if individual judges declare their assets,” said Justice Balakrishnan in an informal interaction with reporters after releasing the autobiography of the apex court’s former judge Justice V. Ramaswamy at the Indian Law Institute here.

Asked about the reports that judges have relented to make official disclosure of their assets, the chief justice said they have taken no such decision, but added they may discuss the issue during their daily meetings in the apex court in the coming days.

Asked if he had convened any meeting of the apex court judges to discuss the contentious issue, the chief justice said, “We meet every day. We will discuss it.”

Asked for his personal views on the issue, he said, “My personal views are immaterial.”

As per the prevailing arrangement, the judges of the Supreme Court and various states’ high courts keep apprising their respective chief justices annually about their assets and wealth. They are also supposed to apprise the chief justices whenever they make any major wealth or asset acquisition.

The judges of the higher judiciary, however, have no institutional arrangement to declare their wealth.

Acting on a lawsuit, seeking declaration of their assets by the judges of the higher judiciary, India’s official transparency panel, the Central Information Commission, had recently asked the apex court judges to declare their assets.

The Supreme Court, in turn, has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the CIC’s authority and directive.

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