Govt told to disclose Cabinet note on NJAC Act

Govt told to disclose Cabinet note on NJAC Act

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the Union government to disclose the Cabinet note and other documents relating to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act to an information seeker under the Right to Information Act.

The transparency panel held that once the bill was presented in Parliament, it could not be exempted from disclosure.

Acting on Lucknow-based S N Shukla's plea, Information Commissioner M Shridhar Acharyulu said such documents could not be held as secret.

The NJAC Act, as passed by Parliament and ratified by over 15 states, got the President's assent recently. It replaced the two-decade-old collegium system of appointment of judges in high courts and the Supreme Court.

Shukla has sought from the Law Ministry a copy of the NJAC bill as cleared by the Cabinet in 2013, along with the Cabinet note.

The ministry maintained that the bill, as presented last year in Rajya Sabha, had not attained finality, and in the meantime the government had also changed, so there was no point disclosing the details.