Joining issue with Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Sunday accused him of being “publicity crazy” for going to the press in support of declaration of assets by judges.
“He wants publicity and such a thing is not good for a judge. Judges should not be publicity crazy,” PTI quoted Justice Balakrishnan as having said about Justice Kumar, who had questioned his authority to speak for all the judges of higher judiciary.
In an article recently carried in an English daily, Justice Kumar said it was a misnomer that judges were not ready to disclose their assets.
But the CJI said he had the right to speak on behalf of all judges as the head of judiciary. If the judges want to declare their assets, no one could prevent them.
Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani said: “This is not publicity. In fact he is trying to protect the honour of the entire judiciary.”
The reluctance of some judges to declare assets was creating a suspicion even about those with no such reservations, he said.
Justice K. Kannan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the first judge to declare his wealth details, has said corruption in judiciary can only be prevented by changing the procedure judges’ appointment and removal.
“What do you do with corrupt judges, do you ask? Without addressing the issues of the appointment and removal procedures as they exist now, you cannot do anything,” he blogged.
“If the existing mechanism is perceived as not being successful in preventing corruption in the judiciary, let us evolve better procedures for their recruitment and removal. That will give us answer as to who shall access the records of assets of judges,” he wrote.
He refused to discuss his writings, saying, “They are all there for those who want to read.”