Slighted by HC circular, MLAs seek probe into judges' assets

Ministers, legislators barred from dais during court building opening

Slighted by HC circular, MLAs seek probe into judges' assets
A circular of the High Court of Karnataka barring ministers and legislators from sitting on the dais during  inauguration of court buildings triggered an outburst from members against the judiciary in the Legislative Assembly.

The members, cutting across party lines, on Wednesday stated that the circular is an insult to the legislature. They even sought a probe into judges’ assets.
Moving the motion of thanks to the governor’s address, K N Rajanna (Congress) referred to the October 14 high court circular and stated that the judiciary has exceeded its jurisdiction. The circular was issued by then Registrar General of the high court John Michael D’Cunha, based on the proceedings of the Full Court (see box ).

Rajanna said court buildings are constructed using taxpayers’ money and the judiciary did not have any exclusive right over them. He said legislators were the custodians of taxpayers’ money and members of the judiciary. “Judges many a time forget that they are humans. We cannot speak against them. They threaten us with contempt of court. In one way they are... ”, Rajanna said.

Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar said a former chief justice of India has been on record stating that 50% of the judges were corrupt. Rajanna said the government should order a probe into the assets of all judges. His view was endorsed by several members including C T Ravi (BJP) and N A Haris (Congress).

K M Shivalinge Gowda (JD-S) said judges lived in lavish quarters and even secured ‘G’ category sites. Sa Ra Mahesh (JD-S) said a former chief justice, instead of being in the court, was found shopping in a jewellery shop, where he collapsed and had to be rushed to a hospital in an ambulance.

S Suresh Kumar (BJP) said when he was law minister, he had to suffer the humiliation of being subjected to police verification. The police were acting on a direction from a judge who did not want to share the dais with anyone with criminal antecedents at the inauguration of a court building at Holalkere in Chitradurga district.

Kumar urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was present in the House, to advocate the cause of legislators. “You should become an advocate once again. We should not be helpless,” he said, referring to Siddaramaiah’s law practice during his younger days.
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