High court stays information panel’s order on judges’ assets

January 19th, 2009 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order to the Supreme Court registrar to affirm to an applicant whether the apex court’s judges have declared their assets to the Chief Justice of India (CJI). Justice S. Ravindra Bhat issued the order after the apex court’s registrar, who is the information officer under the RTI act, approached the high court challenging the CIC’s Jan 6 order.

The Delhi High Court hears appeals against the CIC’s orders.

The court appointed noted lawyer Fali.S.Nariman as the amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist it and slated the next hearing Feb 12.

In his petition, the apex court’s registrar said that information relating to declaration of assets by the judges to the CJI was not a mandatory exercise under the law.

Objecting to the CIC’s order, the registrar said the order was excessive and without jurisdiction, and the appeal made distinction between the apex court as an institution and the office of the CJI.

“Neither is the office of the CJI a public authority nor does the information relating to judges’ assets come in the public domain,” the Supreme Court said.

The CIC Jan 6 asked the Supreme Court’s registrar to provide information within 10 days on whether the judges of the apex court declare their assets to the CJI.

Filing an application under RTI Act, Subhash Chandra Aggarwal sought to know whether the apex court judges comply with the 1997 resolution and declare their assets to the CJI.

In the application, Aggarwal also sought to know whether the judges of high courts disclose their assets to their Chief Justices.

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