Make public list of decisions reserved by judges: CIC to HC

The Central Information Commission has directed the Delhi High Court to make public list of cases where decision has been reserved by judges for over two months.

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2011, 22:57 PM IST

New Delhi: The Central Information
Commission has directed the Delhi High Court to make public
list of cases where decision has been reserved by judges for
over two months.

Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said
that the number of cases where decision has been reserved is a
"plain factual information" which can be made public.
The case relates to an RTI application filed by
Delhi-based P D Gupta who sought to know from the High Court
the number of cases in which orders have been reserved but
were not passed even after lapse of two month.

The High Court rejected disclosure of information citing
two grounds -- first, the information is not maintained in the
form requested by Gupta and secondly, the court masters
provide information about such cases to the Chief Justice in a
sealed cover which is held by them in fiduciary capacity
making it exempt from disclosure under the transparency law.

Rejecting the arguments of the High Court, Mishra
said, "As admitted by the CPIO, there is a practice followed
in the High Court under which the court masters are supposed
to compile such lists to be furnished to the Chief Justice of
the High Court every month.

"Even if it is admitted that the office of the Chief
Justice may not be compiling and collating such data received
from court masters, it should suffice if photocopies of the
reports furnished by the court masters are provided to the
appellant."

He directed the High Court to locate such reports for
the period of last two years and provide to the appellant.

In addition to providing court masters` reports, the CIC
also directed the High Court to locate a cumulative report, if
any, about the cases where decisions have been reserved and
provide it to the applicant.
"If a cumulative list of such pending reserved orders in
the High Court is being compiled anywhere in the High Court
including the office of the Chief Justice, it would also
suffice to provide a copy of that to the appellant," Mishra
directed.

The Chief Information Commissioner said that disclosure
of list of cases where decision has been reserved by judges of
the High Court would serve the larger public interest "as the
litigating public would come to know about the time being
taken by the High Court in finally disposing of the cases."

"It is well-known that the pendency of cases before the
courts is one of the major concerns among the people," he
said.

PTI