Govt seeks review of SC verdict on CIC

Govt seeks review of SC verdict on CIC

The Union Government on Thursday approached the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict making it mandatory to appoint only serving or retired chief justice of a High Court, or Supreme Court judge, as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) at the Centre or in states.

Calling the court’s directions  “contrary to law,” the department of personnel and training (DoPT) submitted that the verdict passed on September 13 changing status of the CIC as judicial panel and directing it to function in a bench of two with one member having judicial background would result in delays and it will disenchant the information seekers.

Passing a slew of directions, the court had directed the government to amend the provisions of the Act.

“It is well settled that the court cannot issue directions to the legislature to amend an Act or Rule. It is for Parliament to amend an Act or Rule,” it contended. In its petition under Article 137 of the Constitution, DoPT said the commissions could at best be termed as quasi-judicial bodies.

The verdict delivered by a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, terming the CIC a judicial body, was criticised by RTI activists who called it  “unprovoked takeover of the RTI system by judiciary”.

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