Prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan today termed as “historic” the verdict of the Delhi High Court holding the office of the Chief Justice of India within the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act.
“It is a very historic judgement by the High Court which will certainly enhance the stature of judiciary in the country,” Bhushan, who has been appearing for the RTI activist Subash C. Agarwal seeking judges to declare their assets, said.
He said the decision has not only rejected the argument that the office of the Chief Justice does not come under the purview of the RTI Act, but also emphasised that the code of conduct and “asset declaration is fully enforceable.”
“The judgement has emphatically emphasised that the code of conduct and asset declaration is fully enforceable, and that every exercise of power by the judiciary and by the Chief Justice, whether in its administrative capacity or in judicial capacity is accountable and comes within the purview of the RTI Act,” he said.
Subhash C Agarwal, an RTI activist who sought the judges to make their assets public, said the verdict is a “victory for consumers of justice.”
“I have done nothing more than fighting for justice. I am a victim of misconduct in higher judiciary,” he said.
Senior advocate A. M. Singhvi also welcomed the decision.
“Personally, I think that the decision of the Delhi high court on facts, law, equity and good sense is exceptionable,” he said.
Singhvi also hoped that the apex court now would not go against the appeal of the decision.
“Perhaps one can go to the extent of adding that hopefully, the Supreme Court on its administrative side will decide not to appeal on its judicial side,” he said.
Senior advocate K. T. S. Tulsi said the decision of the Delhi High Court would strengthen the faith of the common man in the judiciary and should be welcomed by one and all.
“I think it is a significant step in the journey towards transparency in the function of every public office. Judiciary itself must welcome it because it is merely an extension of policy evolved by the Supreme Court in public interest,” he said.
Tulsi further said that the initial concern and worries would gradually resolve themselves and the media will also learn to use the information with responsibility.
“Overall, I feel that as a result of this judgement, the image of the judiciary will be enhanced in the mind of common man. This will increase transparency in the functioning of the judiciary and exude confidence in the common man,” he said.