Meeting on the judgment requests apex court to review its decision

Speakers at a meeting on the Supreme Court judgment on Right to Information (RTI) have said the recent verdict in Namit Sharma case will adversely impact the implementation of the Act in its true spirit. The meeting requested the apex court to review its decision keeping in view the successful experience of RTI for the last seven years.

Speaking at a meeting organised by the United Forum for RTI Campaign-AP (UFRTI) here on Saturday, former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Justice A. Laxman Rao and former judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Reddappa Reddy felt that the Supreme Court direction that appeals in the State and Central Information Commissions should be heard by two-member Benches comprising Information Commissioners (ICs) from judicial and expert backgrounds would be highly disadvantageous as it would increase the pendency of appeals considerably. They opined that prescribing qualifications should be left to Parliament/Assembly instead of deciding it in consultation with the Apex Court/High Court. They suggested that Parliament could amend Sections 12 (V) and 15 (V) of the RTI Act to fix qualifications.

The RTI Act had never breached privacy of individuals during the last seven years of its experience and the efforts to impose curbs on petitions in the name of privacy would only dilute the act, Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey said. Citing an example he stated that the petition filed seeking information on public spending on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s health did not seek the details of her illness.

Director General of Centre for Good Governance and former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said amendments to the RTI Act would facilitate the Supreme Court to dispose the review petition early.

Convenor of UFRTI B. Ramakrishnam Raju said only those who were pricked by the capability of RTI were talking about curbs on it. The forum would write to the Centre and Supreme Court stating that the judgment would do no good to RTI, he stated.

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