SC notice to RGs of High Courts on RTI issue
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Last Updated: Monday, February 08, 2010, 17:26
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from Registrar Generals of all High Courts on the issue of providing information on appointment and transfer of judges under the Right to Information Act.

"We need to have views of the Registrar Generals (RGs) of High Courts as they have been getting applications on the issue," a bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar said while issuing notices to all the RGs.

The court was hearing the appeal filed by the Supreme Court Registry challenging the directions passed against it by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to disclose information on judges appointment to the apex court by superseding seniors.

The apex court had also put on hold the operation of the CIC order directing it to divulge communication between Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justice R Raghupathy of Madras High Court on alleged interference by a Union minister in a sub-judice matter.

The court has already issued notice to the RTI applicant on whose plea the CIC has passed the orders.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the RTI applicant, had assailed the decision of the apex court for directly moving before itself by sidelining the Delhi High Court and said the Supreme Court, which favoured the transparency law for others, is stepping back when it comes to itself sending a wrong impression.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati had sought stay on the CIC's direction saying several important questions of law arise in the matter which required urgent hearing.

Bhushan had said all major issues relating to the case was decided by the apex court in another matter.

The CIC, in a series of orders, has held that office of the CJI comes within the purview of the RTI Act and information held by the CJI should be revealed. However, Balakrishnan has consistently been maintaining that his office does not come under the ambit of the Act.

The Supreme Court had on December 1 moved before itself a petition challenging the order of CIC which had directed it to divulge information relating to appointment of judges to the apex court and communication between CJI and Justice Raghupathy.

The Registry has assailed the CIC's order contending that the material (information) held by the CJI was kept under fiduciary relationship and should be exempted from being made public under Section 8(1)e of the transparency law.

Interestingly, deviating from the normal practice which was adopted by it in an earlier case on the assets declaration issue, the apex court this time sidelined the Delhi High Court where appeals against the CIC's order were filed.

The same legal issue on whether CJI's office comes within the ambit of RTI or not is pending before a full bench of the Delhi High Court after a single judge had rejected the apex court's plea that all the information with CJI cannot be revealed under RTI.


First Published: Monday, February 08, 2010, 17:26

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