New Delhi: Giving relief to itself, the
Supreme Court today stayed the Central Information
Commission's direction asking it to make public information
pertaining to appointment of three judges to the apex court by
superseding senior judges.
The apex court also stayed another CIC's order which
had directed disclosure of communication between Chief Justice
of India and Justice R Raghupathy of Madras High Court on
alleged interference by a union minister in a sub-judice
The SLP filed by the apex court against the CIC's
direction was mentioned by Attorney General G E Vahanvati
before a Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and
Deepak Verma which issued notice to the RTI applicant on whose
plea the CIC had passed the direction.
The Court sought the reply within three weeks and
granted another two weeks for filing of rejoinder.
The Attorney General along with Advocate Devadatt
Kamat sought stay on the CIC's direction saying several
important question of law arise in the matter which required
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for RTI applicant
S C Aggrawal, was present in the court when the matter came
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 Chief
Justice of India and Justice Raghupathy.
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
The petition was moved by the Supreme Court Registry
assailing 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.
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.
The CIC, in a series of orders, has held that office
of the CJI comes within the perview of the RTI Act and
information held by the CJI should be revealed.
The Central Information Commission on November 25 had
said that appointment of judges is a "public activity" which
cannot be withheld from disclosure and asked the apex court
registry to make public the records relating to appointment of
three apex court judges who superseded their seniors.
The Commission had passed the order on a plea of RTI
activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking complete
correspondence between authorities concerned relating to
appointment of Justices H L Dattu, A K Ganguly and R M Lodha
superseding seniority of Justices A P Shah, A K Patnaik and
V K Gupta. This was allegedly objected to by the Prime
Minister’s Office, according to the petition.
The CIC in a separate order had directed the apex
court to reveal the name of the Union Minister, who had
allegedly approached a judge of the Madras High Court to
influence a decision in a case of his, and the complete
correspondence with Chief Justice of India in the matter.
Justice Raghupathy had alleged in an open court a few
months ago that the Union Minister, through his lawyer, spoke
to him on telephone seeking favours in a case being probed by
First Published: Friday, December 04, 2009, 11:58