SC stays CIC order on its own plea

SC stays CIC order on its own plea


A bench headed by Justice B Sudarshan Reddy directed the respondents to file reply in two weeks and the Supreme Court registry to file a rejoinder in another two weeks stating their respective positions on the order of the CIC.

Attorney General Ghulam E Vahanvati, appearing for the Supreme Court, submitted that the direction issued by the CIC could not be executed as it would mean that confidential information about the appointment of the judges of the top court would be made public.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for respondent Subhash Chandra Agrawal, a Right To Information (RTI) activist, said the public had lost faith in the judiciary, thanks to the action of the apex court.

Bypassing the regular procedure of filing an appeal, the Supreme Court had filed a petition before itself challenging the CIC order.

The apex court registry had also challenged another order of the CIC asking it to disclose communication between the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Justice Raghupathy of the Madras High Court on the alleged interference by a Union minister in a sub-judice matter seeking favour for a litigant.

Whereas in other matters, the apex court had challenged the CIC’s orders before the Delhi High Court.

The Chief Information Commissioner had directed the court to divulge the information, contending that the material held by the CJI was kept under fiduciary relationship, and that it should be exempted from being made public under Section 8 (1) E of the transparency law. The legal issue whether the CJI’s office comes within the ambit of the Right To Information Act is pending before a full bench of the Delhi High Court.

The CIC, in a series of orders, has held that the office of the CJI comes within the purview of the Right To Information Act, and that information held by the CJI should be revealed.

The CIC on November 25 had termed the appointment of judges a “public activity”, which could not be withheld from disclosure.

The commission had issued the order on a plea by Agrawal, seeking information on the correspondence between the authorities concerned on the appointment of Justices HL Dattu, A K Ganguly and R M Lodha to the Supreme Court superseding the seniority of Justices A P Shah, A K Patnaik and V K Gupta.

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