Plea to bring AG under RTI; HC asks law officer to respond

The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the Attorney General on a plea that the office of the law officer be declared a "public authority" under the RTI Act as the appointment is according to the Constitution.

"Issue notice to the office of the Attorney General. Reply be filed within six weeks," Justice G S Sistani said.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal against a decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC) holding that the office of AG is not amenable to the RTI Act.

Initiating the arguments, Aggarwal's counsel Prashant Bhushan said the question that what information can be given (by AG) to an information seeker is different from the plea that the office be declared a public office under the RTI.

"Instead of seeking information from the Attorney General's office, a person may seek information from the persons (government and its departments) to whom advice has been rendered," the court said, adding it has also been argued that AG has a lawyer-client relationship with the government and his advice is protected against revelation under the law.

Bhushan said the issue as to whether the office of AG falls under the RTI or not is "different from the issue as to what information may or may not be given under the RTI".

The court then asked Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the AG's office, to file the reply and fixed the matter for hearing on August 18.

Earlier, the Attorney General had opposed the plea on various grounds including that the advice rendered by him to the state and its authorities is protected under the law.

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