By meghna at 13 November, 2009, 10:33 pm
After the declaration of assets by the Supreme Court Judges there is a lot of hue and cry everywhere. Some people are delighted by the transparency of the system others are scared by the consequences of the same.
Disproportionate property has always been a major concern for public officials. They have been haunted by the idea of public scrutiny and Right to Information Act and now the clutches of law have even tried to catch hold of judiciary.
Supreme Court Judges have declared their assets voluntarily few days ago. However it is startling that the assets of some senior most judges were very less in comparison to other judges. Some of them had no fixed deposits, property, investment in shares and other worthy possessions. Their declaration was voluntary and was not verified by an official inquiry.
However this declaration created a state of havoc in the legal fraternity. Everyone related to the field was either glad or terrified to hear about the event. Then there came series of comments from dignitaries of the field.
‘We cannot expose our judges to public scrutiny or inquiry because it would hamper their functioning and independence,” Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, appearing for apex court registry, contended before the Delhi High Court.
The AG contended other agencies should not be allowed to interfere in the judiciary. “Judges cannot be judged by public perception. The Judiciary cannot be exposed to third party. There is no problem in having better transparency and accountability in the system but it should come from within the system,”
The assumption that it would hamper the functioning and independence of judges is a flawed statement. If public scrutiny is imposed on judges then the ugly truth of bribery that exists in judiciary can be curtailed to a large extend.
JUDGES CANNOT BE JUDGED BY PUBLIC PERCEPTION ? None is judging the judges, the Right to Information Act would only ensure that people who are judging don’t assume divinity just because they are privileged by law. Rather judges are more accountable to people than any other public official because they are ones who have to protect both the rich and the poor, who have to look in for the rights of the victims as well as accused and who have to stand for and against the legislature and the judiciary. They are the one’s who have responsibility to declare a flawed law as unconstitutional.
I think no office protects public interest than judiciary as judiciary does. It is something that people look up to and if they demand transparency in return, it must not be a problem. Our judges have always protected people and if people demand to know their assets it should not offend them.