On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 judgement of Delhi High Court that the RTI (Right To Information) act was applicable to the office of CJI (Chief Justice of India) as well.
Key Findings of the Judgement
- The CJI office and the SC are not two different public authorities. Under Article 124, SC includes office of CJI and the other judges as well
- The relationship between the CJI and the judges would neither be fiduciary nor be beneficial.
- The judgement said that under Section 6(2) of the act, the motive of the seeker of information is not a relevant consideration.
- The Public Information Officer has vast discretion under the RTI act. The PIO should make sure judicial independence and accountability are well maintained as they go hand in hand. It is important for the SC to maintain confidentiality in certain aspects of judicial administration.
In 2010, the CIC (Central Information Commission) ordered the SC CPIOs (Central Public Information Officer) to provide information on personal assets possessed by the judges of SC. The order was challenged at the Delhi HC to which it ruled that SC and CJI have statutory duty to furnish information regarding administration and functioning of the SC.
Appeals were filed to SC on HC verdict in 2010. Though filed in 2010, it was heard and referred to a Constitution bench only in 2016 and the judgement was pronounced now.
Source: GK current affairs