CJI can’t speak for all on assets: HC judge
New Delhi: In what may be seen as an open defiance of Chief Justice of India’s stand on the declaration of assets by the judges, Justice D V Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court has rubbished suggestions that judges are not willing to disclose assets, while also taking on the CJI for speaking on their behalf.
Writing in a leading English daily Shylendra Kumar said, “It’s a misnomer to think that the judges of the superior courts are not ready to disclose their assets.”
Explaining his viewpoint on the issue, Shylendra Kumar said that a negative impression has been created in the minds of common public that the judges of the superior court, who enjoy Constitutional protection and immunity, are not willing to disclose their assets and liabilities.
Kumar further said that judges had no problem in declaring the source of their income and their liabilities, but, technically speaking, the Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan is not authorised to speak on behalf of others unless he has been asked to do so.
“The CJI does not have the authority to speak for all other judges of the superior courts, whether of the Supreme Court or of High Courts, unless any of them have either confided in the Chief Justice or have authorised him to speak on behalf of others,” he said.
Driving his point further, Justice Kumar opined that the details of the assets and liabilities of a superior court judge can be posted on a suitable High Court website below his own profile.
The issue came to the fore few days after the CJI favoured a law making it mandatory for judges of superior courts to declare their assets and liabilities.
Responding to queries on the proposed Judges Assets Bill, which is before the cabinet, he said, "We have been already doing it (declaring assets)... judges declare assets to the Chief Justice of India when they are appointed as judges. We want it to be made into a law".
Under the proposed bill, High Court judges will have to disclose their assets and liabilities before the Chief Justice of their respective High Courts. The High Court Chief Justices will send details of their assets to the CJI.