A day after 42 judges of the Delhi High Court posted the details of their assets on the court’s official website, pro-transparency activists termed the declarations “inadequate”.
Questions are now being raised over non-declaration of movable property of the judges — the jewellery they possess and also the number of vehicles they own.
The judges of the Delhi High Court that advocated “transparency and openness” in judiciary, saying “sunlight was the best disinfectant” in its historic January verdict in judges’ assets case, should have revealed much more and set a precedent for other courts, activists feel.
As many as 106 judges — 21 of the Supreme Court, 52 of the Madras High Court and 33 of the Kerala High Court — have put details of the jewellery (with break up of diamond, gold and silver ornaments) and vehicles they and their family members own. The Delhi High Court judges limited their declaration to real estate, bank deposits and financial investments. No specific reason has been cited for concealing information on jewellery and vehicles.
HT contacted the Chief Justice’s office for a comment but no response was forthcoming.
Justice Valmiki J. Mehta even refused to make public details of his fixed deposits in bank claiming the “right of privacy.”
He said such details are with the Chief Justice and all other requisite authorities.
Right-to-information activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, whose application trigerred the whole trend, said: “It is surprising that details of movable properties like jewellery and vehicles of judges have not been put on website. Union government should bring a bill to make system of declaration uniform for all courts.”