New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Supreme Court registry to provide information to an RTI activist regarding cases which have been heard but judgments have been pending after being reserved.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued the direction while upholding the August 2011 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the apex court to provide the information sought.
Justice Bakhru also held as "unsustainable" the stand of the registry that since the data asked for is not maintained in the manner sought by Right to Information (RTI) activist Commodore (retd.) Lokesh K Batra, it was not under any obligation to provide the same.
"In the present case, it is the stand of the petitioner (SC registry) that it does not maintain the data in the manner sought for and thus, has no obligation to provide the same to respondent 1 (Batra). This stand is, clearly, unsustainable," the judge said.
The high court while asking the SC registry to provide the information, observed that "the period for which a case remains pending after arguments, is relevant for any citizen who desires to know about the pendency of cases before the apex court".
The court also observed that in the instant case the information was denied as it would require sifting through the data so available.
"I find no infirmity with the impugned order insofar as it directs that the records may be maintained in a manner so that the information regarding the period for which the judgments are pending after being reserved, is available with the petitioner in future," the judge also said.
It, however, refused to uphold the CCI's order to the extent it required that the information sought be also placed in a public domain.
Batra in his RTI application had sought data of pending cases in which arguments have been heard between 2007-2009 and judgements have been reserved.
The CPIO had rejected his plea by an order dated January 12, 2010 saying the data is not maintained by the registry in the manner as sought for by him.
His appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA) was also dismissed and against the same he had moved CCI which directed CPIO to provide the information.