Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SC judges under purview of RTI Act: Delhi HC

There is another news favouring progress towards more judicial accountability. I will add Justice S Ravindra Bhatt to the list of progressive judges who favour moving with the times and also taking steps to restore public's trust in judiciary.

SC judges under purview of RTI Act: Delhi HC

In an important judgment, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday upheld the Chief Information Commission's order stating that the Chief

Justice of India's office is a public authority and is under the purview of the Right To Information Act.

Justice S Ravindra Bhatt said that a person can seek information about declaration of assets by SC judges. This comes under the Act.

"The CJI is a public authority under the Right to Information Act and the CJI holds the information pertaining to assets declaration in his capacity as Chief Justice. That office is a public authority under the Act and is covered by its provisions," Justice S Ravindra Bhatt said.

"Declaration of assets by Supreme Court judges is an information under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. The information pertaining to declaration given to the CJI and the contents of such declaration are information and subject to the provisions of the RTI Act," Bhat said.

Judges are accountable but they are also subjective to some constraints, Bhat said adding: "The dignity of the judges adds value to the democracy. Judges are under public attack and revealing of assets and other information may increase the reputation of the judges."

"Chief Public Information Officer of the Supreme Court shall release the information about the declaration of the assets to the petitioner within four weeks of time," he said.

The judge also said judges should declare their assets.


Solicitor General GE Vahanvati contended before Justice Bhatt that disclosure of information on personal assets by judges will affect the independence of the judicial system.

"If we introduce transparency to an extent which would disturb the working of the judges, then it would affect the independence of the judicial system," Vahanvati had said.

Solicitor General GE Vahanvati is giving lame arguments working for a lame government which introduces a lame bill on assets declaration in parliament, and withdraws it in a lame manner when faced with all round opposition. lame lame lame...

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