SC notice to RGs of High Courts on RTI issue

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 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

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 8, 2010 - 17:26

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