Delhi

29 of 35 Delhi HC judges declare assets

Opening themselves up to public scrutiny, 29 of 35 Delhi High Court judges have declared their assets on the court’s website.

The Delhi High Court has been at the forefront of various initiatives in judiciary, including the push for transparency in its functioning, with some judges having declared their assets in February 2010 itself.

2009 resolution

The voluntary declarations were put public domain following a full court resolution of the Delhi High Court on August 8, 2009, to bring in transparency in judiciary.

Apart from Delhi, sitting judges in just six of 24 High Courts have declared their assets on the respective official websites.

The Delhi High Court also has a list of 34 judges — some of whom were elevated to the Supreme Court, transferred to other High Courts or have retired — who have declared their assets on the website.

29 of 35 Delhi HC judges declare assets
 

Six judges of the Delhi High Court who have not yet uploaded details of assets on the website are Justice A.K. Chawla, Justice Vinod Goel, Justice Chander Shekhar, Justice Anu Malhotra, Justice Yogesh Khanna and Justice C. Hari Shankar.

Justice Shankar was appointed as permanent judge of the Delhi High Court in May 2017. The remaining five judges were made permanent judges in November 2016.

Those who have declared their assets include Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, and Justices S. Ravindra Bhat, Sanjiv Khanna, G. S. Sistani, S. Muralidhar, Hima Kohli, Vipin Sanghi, Siddharth Mridul, Manmohan and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

All judges who have declared their assets on the official websites own real estate, which they either purchased themselves, inherited or are bought in the name of their spouse. Most judges have also made investments in shares or mutual funds.

However, details available on the websites show there is no system where declaration of assets is updated after a specific period.

Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjan Gogoi recently updated his assets to record the sale of a plot he owned in Guwahati for ₹65 lakh, including the tax deducted. Justice Gogoi had earlier declared his assets in April 2012 on the Supreme Court website.

1997 resolution

The declarations of Delhi High Court judges’ assets in the form of real estate or investments have been made to the Chief Justice of the High Court in accordance with the Full Court resolution of May 7, 1997, of the Supreme Court, which was adopted by the full court of the Delhi High Court on July 26, 1997, and reiterated on July 8, 2008.

In January 2010, a three-judge Bench of the Delhi High Court held that “such personal information regarding asset disclosures need not be made public” unless public interest considerations dictate it, under Section 8 (1)(j), of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The safeguard (of privacy), it was held, “is made in public interest in favour of all public officials and public servants”.

The Supreme Court had on May 7, 1997, adopted a resolution in a full court meeting that all judges must declare their assets, including that of their spouse and dependents within a reasonable time after assuming office. The declaration was, however, not to be made public.

It resolved that “every judge should make a declaration of all his/ her assets in the form of real estate or investments [held by him/ her in his/ her own name or in the name of his/ her spouse or his/ her dependant family member] within a reasonable time of assuming office and in the case of sitting judges within a reasonable time of the adoption of this resolution and thereafter when ever any acquisition of a substantial nature is made, it shall be disclosed within a reasonable time. The declaration so made shall be to the Chief Justice of this Court. The Chief Justice should make a similar declaration for the purpose of the record. The declaration made by the Judges or the Chief Justice, as the case may be, shall be confidential.”

Subsequently, on August 26, 2009, the Supreme Court passed another resolution in a full court meeting that the judges will voluntarily put up their in public domain.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 3:18:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/29-of-35-delhi-hc-judges-declare-assets/article24367830.ece

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