Parliamentary panel proposes assets declaration by SC,HC judges

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New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has recommended that Supreme Court and High Court judges make their assets public.

The committee believes that judges should follow the same practise as politicians and officers, who are required to disclose their assets, in order to increase public trust in the judicial system.

The panel, chaired by Sushil Modi, a BJP MP and former Bihar deputy chief minister, stated that while the Supreme Court suggested that judges disclose their assets voluntarily, it should be made mandatory through legislation.

Under this proposal, judges would be required to submit information about their assets and liabilities on an annual basis.

The committee also cited the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the public the right to know about electoral candidates’ assets. The panel questioned why judges are not required to disclose their assets if they hold a government position and are paid with public funds. They argue that judges should be required to file annual returns on their property as well.

The panel expressed concern about the large number of pending cases in the courts, in addition to recommending asset disclosure. To address this issue, they proposed looking into reducing judges’ leave. The court currently follows a holiday schedule that has not changed since the British era.

To ensure that the court can continue to function efficiently, the panel suggests implementing a rotation system for judges’ leave.

Furthermore, the panel suggested that reservations for women, minorities, and backward classes be implemented in the Supreme Court and High Courts. The panel believes that by diversifying the composition of the constitutional court, all segments of society will be represented.

They also proposed raising the retirement age for judges in the higher judiciary and establishing regional Supreme Court branches to improve access to justice for the poor.

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