Parliament Winter Session: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Modi on Monday (December 11) called for making it mandatory for high court and Supreme Court judges to declare assets annually, as it is done by the ministers and civil servants. He suggested amending the existing law or framing a new legislation for its implementation. The senior BJP leader raised the issue during the Zero Hour in the House and said that ministers, including the prime minister, and civil servants such as IAS and IPS officers are required to annually declare their assets.
Modi further said that the Supreme Court has directed that the public has the right to know about the assets of candidates running for Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, and they file an affidavit declaring the same. After being elected, public representatives have to provide details of their assets.
"Anybody holding a public office and drawing salary from the exchequer should compulsorily declare annual details of their properties irrespective of the position that person holds," he said.
Sushil Modi's suggestion
He suggested the government should either amend the existing law or frame a new legislation to make it mandatory for judges in higher courts to declare their assets.
He said that as a voter who has the right to have information regarding the details of properties of an MLA or an MP, the “litigant has the right to know the assets of judges. This will repose the confidence and trust of the litigant public in the judicial system”.
Modi cites Supreme Court's previous ruling
He said that in May 1997, a full bench of the Supreme Court had decided that all judges would mandatorily make declaration of their properties, however, a full bench made it voluntary later.
Modi said that he visited the Supreme Court website in the morning and found that the asset declaration section has remained un updated since 2018 as the declaration of assets has been made voluntary.
“Also, only five high courts have provided such information, and that too about only a few judges,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)