In the midst of a raging controversy over declaration of assets by judges, a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge has voluntarily made public the list of his properties while advocating setting up of an in-house mechanism within the judiciary to regulate its conduct.
Justice K Kannan was the only judge of the High Court who responded to a letter from lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan to judges in January suggesting that they should voluntarily disclose their assets.
Bhushan on Sunday said that he had sent his letter to about 600 judges of various High Courts in the country, but only Justice Kannan declared his assets.
The judge is reportedly to have declared that he has Rs 1.03 lakh in bank deposits, investment of Rs 3.87 lakh and Rs 10.59 lakh as deposits in his wife’s name.
Mr. Kannan said there were other dimensions to the issue of making public assets of judges, including who should a judge be answering to on how he has got the wealth, what do you do with corrupt judges and whether “a full-fledged roving enquiry” should be made about the antecedents of a judge before he is appointed.
“Let us evolve mechanisms within the judiciary itself to regulate its conduct. 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 to who shall access the records of assets of judges,” Mr. Kannan said in his blog.
The disclosure came days after a Karnataka High Court judge wrote in a national daily that it was a misnomer that the judges of superior courts are not ready to disclose their assets and the Chief Justice of India had no authority to speak for all judges of superior courts.