Goa Governor`s report to the Centre stayed

The SC stayed the Bombay HC order asking the Goa Raj Bhawan to make public the Governor`s report to the Centre on political situation.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the
Bombay High Court order asking the Goa Raj Bhawan to make
public the Governor`s report to the Centre on political
situation of the state during July-August 2007.

While staying the high court direction to make public the
report under the Right to Information Act, a bench headed by
Justice Dalveer Bhandari also halted further proceedings in
the high court on the case in which the Governor`s office has
been declared to be under the ambit of transparency law.

The court passed the order on an appeal filed by Goa
government challenging the high court`s decision and
contending that the Governor`s office does not fall under the
purview of the RTI Act and the confidential report to the
Centre cannot be made public.

While staying the order, the apex court bench, also
comprising justices T S Thakur and Dipak Misra, said the state
has raised an important question of law, which needs to be

The Goa government has challenged the decision saying the
Governor was not a public authority under the RTI Act as he
was the formal and constitutional head of the government.

The case began with BJP leader Manohar Parrikar seeking
from the Goa Raj Bhawan under the RTI Act a copy of the
Governor`s report to the Union Home Minister on the political
situation in the state during July 24-August 14, 2007. The Governor`s principal information officer, however,
declined to provide the same under the RTI Act, but the Goa
State Information Commission, on an appeal by Parrikar,
directed Raj Bhawan to provide the report to him.

The Governor`s PIO moved the Goa bench of the Bombay High
Court against the state information commission order. But the
high court too upheld the Information Commission`s order.

The division bench of the high court, on November 14,
said, "It must be held that the Governor cannot claim an
exemption under clause (e) of sub-clause (1) of Section 8 of
the RTI Act in respect of disclosure of a report made by him
under Article 356 of the Constitution."

The decision of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court
to make public governor`s report to applicants under RTI Act
has legal and political repercussions as the Union Cabinet
headed by the prime minister relies on the secret report sent
by the Governor to the President as a precursor to action
under Article 356 of the Constitution for imposition of
Central rule.



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