New Delhi: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi Monday said it should be made mandatory for high court and Supreme Court judges to declare assets annually, as is done by ministers and civil servants.
He suggested amending the existing law or framing a new legislation to implement this.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, the senior BJP leader said that ministers, including the prime minister, and civil servants such as IAS and IPS officers are required to annually declare their assets.
He further said the Supreme Court has directed that the public has the right to know about the assets of candidates contesting elections for assemblies and parliament, 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.
The BJP MP 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 as a voter who has the right to know the details of properties of an MLA/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”.
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. But later a full bench made it voluntary.
Sushil Modi said he visited the Supreme Court website in the morning and found that the asset declaration section has not been 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, the BJP MP added.
Meanwhile, Abir Ranjan Biswas (TMC) spoke on the need to address the rising cases of crime against women.
He said the recent National Crime Records Bureau data reveals that more than 4.45 lakh cases of crimes were committed against women in 2022. This, he said, translates to 51 FIRs filled every hour.
“…women safety has become very paramount. It is imperative for authorities to address this concerning trend and implement robust measures ensuring the safety and security of women all across the nation,” he said.
The TMC member further said when the data underscores the urgent need to have comprehensive strategies to combat gender-based crimes, it is noteworthy that Kolkata stands out as the safest city in the country.
This highlights the effectiveness of local initiatives and law enforcement efforts in creating a secure environment for women, he said.
“So to further enhance women’s safety nationwide, it is crucial for policy-makers to analyse successful models like that of Kolkata and replicate best practices that are available all over the nation,” he said.
Biswas suggested that this may include increased police presence, community engagement programmes and leveraging technology for a rapid response to such incidents.