SC judges list their assets for the people
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After months of controversy over transparency and accountability, a heated public debate in Parliament and outside, and even a battle in court, Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan and all other judges of the Supreme Court on Monday "voluntarily" declared their assets on the court's website (www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in).
According to the website, the disclosure is purely on a "voluntary basis", as was decided by all the judges, led by CJI Balakrishnan.
The only judge whose asset details were not posted — Justice H S Bedi — is learnt to have informed the CJI that he would do so in the "next few days" as his mother passed away on October 17.
The declaration of assets has been done as per the format adopted at the Full Court meeting of the Supreme Court on May 7, 1997.
The total strength of the apex court is 21, including the CJI.
Among those who declared their assets is also Justice B N Agrawal, who retired on October 15. Details of his assets were put on the website as per his "special request."
So far, only judges of the Kerala High Court and the Karnataka High Court have declared their assets but the SC's move is expected to clear the way for all High Court judges to do the same.
The list of assets include both movable and immovable assets owned by the judges and their spouses.
The issue of declaration of assets has been a matter of controversy after the CJI said a few months ago that there was no law that made it mandatory for judges to make their assets public.
However, bowing to public pressure, including by sitting judges and former CJI J S Verma, as well as politicians, the Supreme Court finally decided on August 26 to make public their assets.