Almost a decade after the Supreme Court passed a resolution to make public the details of assets owned by the apex court judges, only half of the sitting judges have disclosed their assets and investments on the top court’s website.
Of the 23 sitting judges in the Supreme Court, only 12 have so far disclosed their assets on the apex court website.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the next four senior-most judges, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri are among those who have declared their assets.
Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, A K Goel, R Banumathi, A M Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan have also disclosed their assets and liabilities along with that of their families.
The apex court website does not have the names of Justices R F Nariman, A M Sapre, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Mohan M Shantanagoudar, S Abdul Nazeer, Navin Sinha, Deepak Gupta and Indu Malhotra in the list of those who have disclosed their assets, liabilities and investments.
The total sanctioned strength of apex court judges is 31, including the CJI.
The assets of Chief Justice Misra, as per the website, was last declared on May 1, 2012. He was elevated as a judge of the apex court on October 10, 2011.
The declarations state that the CJI has a residential flat at Supreme Enclave in East Delhi which he acquired in 2003 and a house in Cuttack. He has also declared that he has a fixed deposit of Rs 7.4 lakh, two gold rings and one gold chain.
Justice Misra has also declared that he has a loan of over 33 lakh from various banks.
Justice Gogoi, as per the website, had on June 6 updated his assets recording the sale of land held by him in Guwahati for Rs 65 lakh, even the tax deducted at source, as well as the transfer of ancestral land gifted to him and his spouse by his mother.
Justice Lokur, who has declared his assets on the website on July 20, 2012, disclosed that he owns a flat in Vasant Kunj in New Delhi and had booked another flat with Jaypee Greens in Noida.
Justice Joseph, who was appointed as apex court judge on March 8, 2013, owns six pieces of land in Kerala, some of which are jointly owned by his wife and son.
Justice Sikri owns a single-storeyed house in Greater Noida while his wife and son jointly own a property in Delhi’s posh Hauz Khas locality.
The website details also show that Justices Misra, Gogoi, Sikri, Bobde, Ramana, Mishra, Goel, Banumathi, Khanwilkar and Bhushan do not own a car, while Justice Lokur owns a Maruti Swift and Justice Joseph a second-hand Maruti Esteem.
The dates of declaration of assets by some of the judges was not mentioned clearly. Justices Joseph, Ramana, Banumathi, Khanwilkar and Bhushan had declared the assets on June 10, 2015, March 31, 2018, November 4, 2014, July 31, 2017 and October 9, 2017 respectively.
A full court resolution was passed by the Supreme Court in 1997, as per which, the Supreme Court judges were mandated to disclose their assets to the Chief Justice of India.
“Resolved further 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 any person dependent on him/her) within a reasonable time of assuming office and in the case of sitting judges within a reasonable time of adoption of this resolution and thereafter whenever any acquisition of a substantial nature is made, it shall be disclosed within a reasonable time.
“The declaration so made should be to the Chief Justice of the 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,” the 1997 resolution reads.
Thereafter, in 2007, an RTI activist had approached the Delhi High Court seeking disclosure of assets by judges under the Right to Information (RTI) Act which was contested by the apex court registry. The high court had ruled in favour of the petitioner.
On August 26, 2009, the Supreme Court had passed another resolution in a full court meeting that the judges would voluntarily declare assets, which would be made public.