Sunday, October 11, 2009

Assets of judges - Public Disclosure Can Reinforce Integrity

A bill on the disclosure of judges' assets has triggered a controversy. In the reckoning of the Chief Justice of India, the legislation is inconsistent with and derogatory to the status of judges. However, some judges have voluntarily made public their assets through the court website. Should judges be beyond suspicion?
To the ordinary people, justice is divine and the judge is the symbol of truth and righteousness. There is no denying that the judiciary in India has cleansed our socio-political life. M Hidayatullah, a former Chief Justice of India, has observed in his Democracy in India and the Judicial Process that "the citizens look to the courts for the redress of any grievance they may have". On occasions, however, some judges have unfortunately failed to act scrupulously. It is true that judges too are men of the world and, hence, they may be subject to human frailties. But because they judge the conduct of others, they must remain above suspicion.

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