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Rift in judiciary widens, CJI slams Karnataka HC judge

August 24, 2009 19:31 IST

Insisting on his right to speak on the behalf of judges, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Monday said that the remarks of a Karnataka High Court judge cannot bring 'embarrassment' to the judiciary.

"How can the remarks of a single judge cause embarrassment? It (judiciary) is a big institution," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in the Supreme Court. He was asked whether the judiciary does not feel embarrassed over the remarks of Justice Shailendra Kumar, who had questioned the authority of the CJI to speak for all judges of superior courts, on the issue of declaration of assets.

Justice Balakrishnan asked, "How can a single judge cause embarrassment to such a big institution?"

He also said he had made some general comments (about judges) and maintained "I think I have got that right".

On Sunday, the CJI described Justice Kumar as 'publicity crazy' and said such a thing was not good for a judge. Justice Balakrishnan also said that there was a need to reach consensus on the issue of declaration of assets by judges.

The CJI said every high court judge had the freedom to declare his assets and among the Supreme Court judges there was a need to reach a consensus "and thereafter we will decide".

The CJI added that the apex court does not give advice to the judges of the high court on the issue of declaration of assets and the statement issued by him was of a general nature.

"I said every HC judge has got the freedom to declare assets. We don't give any advice to HC judges on this matter. I made some general comments and I think I have got that right," he said.

Asked whether any consensus has been reached among the Supreme Court judges on the matter, Balakrishnan said, "no consensus yet".

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