Give clarifications sought by Prez about Justice Prasad: CIC

The Central Information Commission Monday directed the Rashtrapati Bhavan Secretariat to make public clarifications sought by the President before clearing the name of Justice CK Prasad as a Supreme Court judge.

Last Updated: Jan 03, 2011, 20:21 PM IST

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission
Monday directed the Rashtrapati Bhavan Secretariat to make
public clarifications sought by the President before clearing
the name of Justice CK Prasad as a Supreme Court judge.

Justice Prasad was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge in
February 8 last year.

The Collegium had in November 2009 recommended the
elevation of the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice as the SC
judge. However, the government returned the file seeking
clarifications on allegations of corruption against Prasad.

The Collegium examined the allegations and found them
baseless and returned the file to the Law Ministry for
processing the appointment.

RTI activist SC Agrawal had sought to know from the
President`s Secretariat about clarifications sought by
President Pratibha Patil before clearing name of Justice
Prasad as Supreme Court judge and submissions or
representations received by her or the Union government
against clearing his elevation among other details.

The Secretariat invoked the Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI
Act to reject the application saying any recommendation made
to the President by "member of Council of the Ministers"
(referring to role of Law Minister in putting up the file for
appointment of Justice Prasad before the President) is exempt
under it, hence cannot be given.

It also said since no final decision has been taken,
information cannot be given.

The section exempts information related to Cabinet
papers including records of deliberations of the Council of
Ministers, Secretaries and other officers till a final
decision has been taken on the issue.

Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra
rejected the argument put forth by the Secretariat and said
Section 8(1)(i) has been wrongly invoked to deny information.

"The Section 8(1)(i) refers to Council of Ministers which
means the entire cabinet not a single minister. The section
has been wrongly invoked by the Secretariat to deny the
information. The secretariat must provide information of the
issue," Mishra said.

He said since the matter has been concluded and the judge
has already been appointed there was no point in withholding
the information.

Agrawal has also sought to know from the Secretariat
about any representation or submission being received against
appointment of Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice Swatanter
Kumar to the apex court.

The CIC also cleared these points for disclosure.

PTI