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Former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma joins the debate occasioned by the controversy over the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill 2009 and agrees with Fali S. Nariman:
Even though it is more than a decade since I demitted the office of Chief Justice of India, yet I would like to do the next best. I had made a disclosure of my assets soon after I assumed office of CJI in March 1997 and kept it with the Registrar General of the Supreme Court as a part of the official record. Similar declarations were then made by all the Supreme Court judges voluntarily pursuant to the unanimous resolution of May 7, 1997. I invite the Chief Justice of India to make a public disclosure on the Supreme Court’s website of the declaration of my assets which must be with the Registrar General in the official record. I do hope most of the judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court would act likewise and bring quietus to this unsavoury controversy. Judiciary’s real strength lies in public acclaim. I am sure this will raise us a “peg or two” in public estimation.
Read the full piece here
Justice (retd) JS Verma tells Shekhar Gupta in the Indian Express that something like what the outgoing CEC suggested -- no post-retirement jobs from the government in power for 10 years for the CEC and ECs and prohibition on their joining any political party -- should apply even more to CJI, CEC, EC, SC judges and CBI directors
Rajeev Dhavan argues in the same paper that the Attorney General's role needs to be looked at afresh:
The AG is a constitutional office (article 76). He is the principal advisor and legal conscience-keeper of the Government... In 1962-63 when Ashok Sen tried to combine the offices of AG and Law Minister, he was rebuffed. Today, it could be argued that a de facto merger has taken place between Law Minister Bharadwaj and AG [Milon] Banerjee. It wasn’t always so: independent India’s first AG, M.C. Setalvad, chastised the government over the Mundhra deal, averring that he was accountable to the nation, not the government. He addressed Parliament on preventive detention in 1960 — and politicians listened. Fali Nariman resigned as Additional Solicitor General (ASG) in July 1975 when the Emergency was declared. In 1977, Soli Sorabjee as ASG defended Presidents Rule, but on 10 December 1989 reportedly told Krishnan Mahajan that he regretted doing so. Then he, as AG supported opening up Babri Masjid for Hindu prayer in March 2002, even though in 1994 he opposed this stance in the Babri Masjid case. In UP K.L. Mishra and in Bombay H.M. Seervai set standards for Advocate Generals, the comparable office at State level.