In a 3: 2 ruling, the Supreme Court has held that the office of the CJI must come under the RTI.
Bengaluru: In another landmark judgement (after the one of Karnataka disqualification case) the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) coming under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
In a 3:2 ruling, the bench observed “CJI office does fall under the RTI. Transparency will not undermine judicial independence.”
It also said, “Right to privacy and confidentiality is an important aspect and it has to be balanced while deciding to give out information from the CJI’s office.”
It also urged the information commissioner to “Apply test of proportionality while entertaining applications seeking information from CJI’s office, keeping in mind right to privacy and independence of judiciary.”
Justice Chandrachud, one the judges had this to say, “Judiciary cannot function in total insulation as judges enjoy constitutional post and discharge public duty.”
The issue of bringing the CJI under RTI has its roots in the Delhi high court judgment in 2010 where it had held that the CJI must come under RTI as he is in public life.
It said, “In a landmark verdict on January 10, 2010, the Delhi High Court had held that the office of the chief justice of India comes within the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) law, saying judicial independence was not a judge's privilege, but a responsibility cast upon him.”
The SC bench had opined during the hearing thus: "Nobody wants to remain in the state of darkness or keep anybody in the state of darkness. The question is drawing a line. In the name of transparency, you can't destroy the institution."
The move to bring the office of the CJI under the transparency law was initiated by RTI activist S C Agrawal. His lawyer Prashant Bhushan had submitted in the top court that though the apex court should not have been judging its own cause, it is hearing the appeals due to "doctrine of necessity".
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Last Updated 13, Nov 2019, 6:57 PM