CJI insists SC off RTI loop

CJI insists SC off RTI loop

Kerala, Delhi High Court judges promise to declare assets

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan. File photo

In two separate but crucial developments, judges of the Kerala and Delhi High Courts decided they would declare their assets and publicise the information on the respective court websites. Kerala High Court judges would make the declaration on September 30. The Delhi High Court decided its judges would put up information relating to their assets in the public domain.

In an interview to legal correspondents here, Justice Balakrishnan said: “The office of chief justice is privy to many information like privileged communication between various constitutional authorities, including the President, complaints against judges, decision of collegia etc. How can all these information be disclosed and kept with the Supreme Court registry?’’

Justice Balakrishnan’s assertion was based on laws and practices in the United States, Argentina and other countries where the judges of apex courts are not under the ambit of any transparency law.

On whether the Supreme Court registry would withdraw the petition filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the CIC order, he said the issues before the court were not limited to deciding the assets declaration but other classified information. On the question of making public judges’ assets, Justice Balakrishnan said it was a consensus decision and it would take some time before placing all the relevant information on the court website. ‘’We have not taken any decision on the date of posting it on the website. The decision was in the line of the 1997 resolution taken by the full court on the assets issue,’’ he added.

He said his brother judges in the Supreme Court would abide by any law legislated by Parliament on declaration of assets.’

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