I join Col N R Kurup in praying for that day.
I join Col N R Kurup in praying for that day.
Whether the CIC and SICs are bothering about common man or not, this is a question of principle. There is no need of the CIC to take note of the public proclamation of the Hon'ble CJI. If he has an iota of principles and guts he should proceed with the applications seeking information under RTI Act and award punishment as a test case where the information is not provided exactly in commensurate with the provisions of the RTI Act.
The issue is not as simple as it looks at first glance. It involves principles of law and jurisprudence. These principles may be controversial. World over such a situation exists. Hence it is better to adopt restraint in the criticism against the highest judiciary on this issue.
As reported by Statesman News Service in thestatesman.net on 25 April 2008:
Judges open to declaring assets: CJI
NEW DELHI, April 24: When transparency is becoming the buzzword in the corridors of bureaucracy, the higher judiciary is all set to follow suit as well. Taking a U-turn from his earlier view that judges ought not to declare their assets, Chief Justice of India, Mr K G Balakrishnan, said the higher judiciary was open to the idea.
Many Supreme Court judges have come out ‘voluntarily’ with their assets, the CJI told the audience gathered for this year’s Dr K N Katju Memorial Lecture here on Wednesday evening. “Under rules, civil judges are declaring their assets and judges of higher judiciary - High Courts and the Supreme Court are also doing so... details are with me,” he said.
The lecture “Constitutional Underpinnings of a Concordial Society” was organised in memory of the renowned freedom fighter Kailash Nath Katju who also served as minister and governor.
On judicial activism, Justice Balakrishnan lamented that “reforming the society may not be our job but judges are not left with much choice but to intervene and pass orders” in public interest, especially when other organs fail to perform their statutory duties.
To drive his point home, he referred to Article 21-A (Right to free and compulsory education) and the mid-day meal scheme. While Article 21-A, he said, was yet to be implemented in proper letter and spirit even “57 years after Independence”, the mid-day meal scheme could become a successful reality only after SC intervention. The scheme in most states was leading to high rates of dropouts at schools until the Supreme Court ordered that all children be served cooked meals. Justice Venkatachaliah also spoke on the occasion. Prominent persons who attended the lecture included several former CJIs, former Law Ministers Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and several judges and lawyers.
After all a Happy ending. This shows how powerful is RTI and its roots are getting stronger, despite some aberrations. If only CIC/SCICs become more strict against defaulting PIOs and FAAs, the things would be much much better.
It takes each of us to make difference for all of us.
Bar contradicts CJI on judge assets RTI
7 May, 2008, 0317 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Bar ! Association of India on Tuesday said that judges should make an annual declaration of assets, as done in the US and several other democracies, and people should be given access to this information.
“The Bar Association of India is emphatically of the view that judges do declare their assets on an annual basis and that the public should have access to this information,” said association in its policy statement.
The statement is in sharp contrast to the stand taken by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan who had said that the office of the Chief Justice of India should be out of the purview of RTI. “The Chief Justice is not a public servant. He is a constitutional authority. RTI does not cover constitutional authorities,” the CJI had said.
The bar, on the other hand said, “there are salutary and statutory provisions in force in the US and other democracies that compel and oblige judges to disclose assets. There seems no reason why Indian judges, who have earned high universal respect and prestige over the years, should not follow a similar practice and avoid unnecessary criticism and controversy.”
The Bar Association of India has always been committed to preserve and enhance the high reputation of judiciary but believes that radical rethinking is required to accommodate new expectations from the public regarding transparency and accountability, the body of legal luminaries said in its policy statement.
The association said that the people of India expect that those who render justice should be accountable to the public just as much as others holding constitutional offices. It has become all the more necessary to dispel doubts about the integrity of the judiciary in the context of the recent statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that there is corruption in judiciary.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while inaugurating the conference of chief ministers and chief justices, had said: “Apart from pendency and delayed justice, corruption is another challenge we face both in government and judiciary.” The association, however, take a cudgel for a substantial increase in the salaries of the judges.
“The association firmly believes that there is an urgent need to substantially increase the salaries of judges. The pension payable on retirement should be equal to the last drawn pay,” it said.
The association said that the age of retirement for all judges of the high courts should be raised to 65 years to bring them on a par with the supperannuation age of the apex court judges.
Last edited by opsharma; 09-05-08 at 08:16 PM.
I have seen the judgment linked here (https://www.rtiindia.info/downloads/p.../p13_fileid/95) where the Delhi High Court (single judge bench) ruled against the claim of the CPIO of the Supreme Court that information held by CJI cannot be considered to be held by the Registry. But this was appealed to a bench having more judges, which upheld the single judge bench's decision. Where can I get that decision from? If somebody can provide me the link, it would be very useful.
> But this was appealed to a bench having more judges, which upheld the single judge bench's decision. Where can I get that decision from?
Are you sure the bench has delivered a judgment on this ?