SC to challenge Delhi HC order on RTI

The two-month deadline to challenge the high court judgement will expire on March 12, and the Supreme Court registry will have to file an appeal before that date, an official source said on Sunday. The appeal seeks an immediate stay on the high court judgment on the ground that the correspondence between the CJI and members of higher judiciary could not be sought under the RTI Act, sources said.

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan desisted from holding a full court to discuss the issue as some jurists and constitutional experts had asked if all the apex court judges are party to the decision to challenge the high court order, then who will preside over the bench to hear the appeal.

Sources said the CJI consulted a few judges before deciding to file an appeal.
Advocate Devdutt Kamat will file the appeal and Attorney General G E Vahanvati will appear on behalf of the registry to argue the case.

On January 12, while upholding a single bench order, a division bench of the Delhi High Court ruled that the office of the CJI comes within the ambit of the RTI Act, and that judicial independence was not a judge’s privilege but a responsibility cast upon him.

The bench of Chief Justice (now retired) Ajit Prakash Shah, Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice S Muralidhar dismissed an appeal filed by the Supreme Court registry, maintaining that judicial accountability could not be seen in isolation.

Subsequently, on January 13, Justice Balakrishnan said a full court of the Supreme Court would decide whether to challenge this decision. The decision to challenge the single bench order on September 2, 2009, before a division bench was also taken by a full bench of the Supreme Court.

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