A Bombay High Court judge has turned a rebel and has refused to accept the three-fold salary hike in protest against the government’s decision to bypass Parliament to implement the hike.
Of the total 535 judges in the Supreme Court and high courts in the country, Justice B.H. Marlapalle is the only exception. In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, he has also revealed that he has been declaring his assets for a decade now. “I have been submitting my family income and assets details to the chief justices of my high court for last 10 years. My daughter got married in December and I have submitted the amount spent for the marriage,” he wrote to Chatterjee.
Justice Marlapalle also complimented Chatterjee’s bold stand of questioning the government for waiting to get the judges’ salary Bill passed in Parliament. In his reply to the judge, Chatterjee said his decision to voluntarily declare assets is an example for other judges. “I hope that your decision will also be followed by other learned judges so that there is no controversy concerning the learned judges of the Supreme Court and high courts,” the Speaker said.
The exchange of letters became public on a day when Lok Sabha passed a bill to ratify the government ordinance to hike the salaries. The judges are now getting raised salaries effective from January 2006.
However, there is still no word on whether the judges are willing to declare their assets. Supreme Court has refused to accept the Central Information Commission’s decision on the matter and has challenged it in Delhi High Court. The next date of hearing is February 27.