Attorney General's office is public authority under RTI Act: HC

The Delhi High Court Tuesday said the office of Attorney General of India (AGI) is a public authority falling under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act as the top law officer performed public functions and his appointment was governed by the Constitution.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday said the office of Attorney General of India (AGI) is a public authority falling under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act as the top law officer performed public functions and his appointment was governed by the Constitution.

"It is not disputed that the functions of AGI are also in the nature of public functions. The AGI performs the functions as are required by virtue of Article 76(2) of the Constitution of India. ..., a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court held the office of the AGI to be a public office.

"In this view also, the office of the AGI should be a public authority within the meaning of section 2(h) of the RTI Act," Justice Vibhu Bakhru said while setting aside a December 2012 CIC order that the office of AGI is not a public authority.

The court also refused to consider the government's argument that there is a practical difficulty in providing information under the Act as the office of the AGI does not have the requisite infrastructure, saying, "This cannot be considered as a reason for excluding the applicability of the Act on a public authority."

The court also remanded back to the Central Information Commission (CIC), the pleas of RTI activists Subhash Chandra Agarwal and R K Jain who had sought that the office of the AGI be declared as a public authority under the transparency law.

It also directed the AGI to reconsider the RTI application of Jain as his plea for information was denied on basis of the CIC order that the office of AGI is not a public authority.

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