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Thursday, March 26, 2009

RTI for neta, babu and his honour too!

When it comes to shying away from RTI, each self-proclaimed arm of Democracy seems to prove coy than the other. The PMO, the CJI, the Central Information Commissioner declared that Judges need to make their assets just like the MPs and MLA, so what does the Supreme Court do? Get a stay ordered by a High Court (!!) against the order. Even worse the High Court Judge gives a value lesson, 'don't treat us like you treat politicians', whatever does that mean!? Is he saying that he is a superior species? Judges have been rather high on the value pronouncements in recent years, but, this takes the cake. The Judge says, declaration of assets could put the Judge under pressure! How so? Beats me. These gentlemen have government paid security to guard them, red top cars to carry them around, half a working day to ensure they don't doze off and an annual holiday that would make a primary school kid blush. 
With so many privileges being granted to them from the tax-payer money, there is no accountability as to what are they delivering to the nation. We read year after year about the piling up of cases and under-trials spending long months and years in custody. We have no performance indicators, monitoring mechanism or annual balance sheet as to what these revenue drains deliver to the nation. Now, here is a regulatory mechanism through which at least the public can get to know how much these gentlemen possess (not that it would matter if they did their job well and the public is satisfied with them) to keep themselves entertained while waiting for justice in the courts of these gentlemen, and, they feel offended!!
'Don't treat judges like politicians on assets issue'
"Public interest standards for the judiciary have to be different from other institutions. So judges have to be treated differently from people's representative on the issue (declaration of assets)," justice S Ravindra Bhat said. He was responding to a Right to Information (RTI) applicant who contended that judges should declare their assets like MPs and MLAs. It may be noted that the Supreme Court itself held in the Justice Veeraswamy corruption case that apex courtjudges are public servants. 

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