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THE long-standing dispute on whether judges can be subjected to public scrutiny was sought to be addressed when the Supreme Court came out against the proposal.

   The apex court, while justifying its contention, said judges cannot be put under public scrutiny as it would hamper their functioning and independence. ``We cannot expose our judges to public scrutiny or inquiry because it would hamper their functioning and independence,” attorney-general Goolam E Vahanvati, appearing for the apex court registry, contended before the Delhi high court.

   The argument was made while challenging the verdict of a single-judge bench which had held that the office of the Chief Justice of India comes within the purview of Right to Information Act and details of judges’ assets should be revealed.

   The AG maintained that other agencies should not be allowed to interfere in the judiciary. ``Judges cannot be judged by public perception. The Judiciary cannot be exposed to third party. There is no problem in having better transparency and accountability in the system, but it should come from within the system,’’ he told a full bench of the Delhi High Court, headed by Chief Justice A P Shah.

   The HC verdict on the controversial issue held that the CJI was a public authority and his office came within the purview of the transparency law.

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