Trying to change the notion that he is against disclosure of assets of judges, Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has said that they are free to disclose their assets.
Notably, a top judge of the Madras High Court is likely to disclose his assets on Monday while a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, K Kannan, is the first sitting judge who has already declared his assets.
Moreover, Karnataka High Court Judge D V Shylendra Kumar wrote an article in a newspaper last week on declaration of assets by judges in which he contended that CJI cannot speak for all judges. He was referring to Balakrishnan’s opposition to a bill seeking disclosure of assets of judges.
Balakrishanan, opposition the Shylendra Kumar’s opinion, said that he has the right to speak on behalf of all judges as head of judiciary and this is the practice in judicial systems in other countries too.
“The public has a right to know what is happening in judiciary and I am saying that I stand by what I have said on disclosure of assets by judges,” Balakrishnan said.
He said, “If the judges want to declare their assets, no one can prevent (them). How can I prevent? If the law comes everybody has to declare.”
The CJI also attacked Shylendra Kumar as being “publicity-crazy”.
With this, it is become increasingly clear that there is widespread disagreement and rift in judiciary over the declaration of assets of judges.
Meanwhile, senior Supreme Court advocate Shanti Bhushan opines that if more judges disclose their assets then it will serve to restore people’s faith in judiciary.
“It is a step in the right direction as it will restore the people’s faith. People will be expecting that those judges who have nothing to hide will come forward and declare their personal wealth, this way people can scrutinise how much wealth they have,” Bhushan said.