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J U D I C I A R Y : C O R R U P T I O N
The Stealth of Wealth
The refusal of Indian judges to declare assets is full of hypocrisy

   Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, (Chief Justice of India) recently (in an interview) ruled out compulsory declaration of assets and wealth for High court and Supreme Court judges. His prime contention was that 'no self respecting judge would ever permit that'! Justice Balakrishnan's observation seems to be out of sync with modern thought. By that reckoning,Judiciary every Indian who files an Income Tax return or declares his assets languishes below the 'dignity level' that the Indian judges have reserved for themselves.

Globally, the demand for judicial probity has ensured that judges declare their assets and wealth. A Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth of the Judges of the US Supreme Court is thoroughly declared. The American Bar Association on different occasions has demanded that they be made public. Interestingly, the American judiciary has not considered it to be 'below their dignity'. The Romanian Justice Minister Monica Macovei has stated that, "like the EU, in Romania there has to be a very, very detailed declaration as it is mandatory for the system's transparency". Seeking special privileges for judges in India in the wake of several corruption allegations deprives the honorable members of judiciary of one important criterion, ethics and morality in public life.

Kumar Anuj

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