Appoint information commissioners in CIC, SICs: SC

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

 The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concerns over the misuse of the RTI Act, saying there was some kind of paralysis and fear because of it.

"There should be some guidelines to check unrivalled power of filing RTI applications. Can there be some filters rightfully applied? There are innumerable instances of blackmail," a three-judge bench, presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde, said.

The court sought to know, "Is locus something foreign to law?" 

The bench said, "We have become weary of abuse of the RTI Act."

The court said the law was having this peculiar effect, as the officers are not taking decision. 

The court made these oral observations while hearing a plea by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of activists Anjali Bharadwaj and Commodore Lokesh Batra, for implementation of directions passed with regard to filling up posts in Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commission (SIC).

Bhushan said there was no transparency as names of search and selection committees members were not put out in public domain.

The orders passed by the court earlier remained unimplemented, he said.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Union government, said the names would be disclosed.

However, the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said, "There should be some guidelines to check unbridled power of filing RTI applications. Can there be filters rightfully applied? There are innumerable instances of blackmail."

"We don't know...you must take note. When I was in Bombay HC, a secretary told me Mantralaya's functioning was affected due to the RTI Act," the CJI told Bhushan.

"We are telling you current thinking. One can say he has a concern about a particular issue. But here there is no concept of locus. People describe themselves as RTI activist? If there such a profession?
People in Bombay mention themselves as RTI consultant. Public spirited persons must have something to do with the issue," the bench said.

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