Page last updated at 04:54 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Top Indian judges disclose assets

Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court is India's most powerful court (Photo: Shailendra Pandey)

Judges at India's Supreme Court have made public details about their financial assets and published the information on the court's website.

Twenty one judges of the country's highest court presided over by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan have declared assets owned by them and their spouses.

The landmark move follows intense public debate about the importance of judicial accountability in India.

The decision is likely to lead to some 600 high court judges doing the same.

Leading legal experts welcomed the move by the judges to publicly declare their assets.

"It is a good step. I welcome it," said the former attorney general Soli J Sorabjee.

But others said it was not enough.

"Since it [declaration of assets] is voluntary, it is open for judges to refuse. We still need a law to make this disclosure compulsory that too on an affidavit, so that false disclosures become punishable," said Prashant Bhushan.

In August Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said that the judges needed to arrive at a consensus on public declaration of their assets in the absence of a law.

There has been rising public demand for greater transparency on the part of judges after allegations of corruptions against some judges over the last few years.

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