Karnataka High Court, where Gopala Gowda was once a judge, did not have the information

The Union Law Ministry has no record or details of the professional qualifications of the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, V. Gopala Gowda, who hails from Karnataka and did his graduation and law in that State and served as a judge of the Karnataka High Court.

The fact came to light through an application filed by activist C.J. Singh under the Right to Information Act.

Initially, Mr. Singh filed an application with the Central Public Information Officer of the Supreme Court, wanting to know Mr. Justice Gowda's professional qualifications. The CPIO transferred the application to the Union Law Ministry, which said it did not possess the copies of the certificates of his academic and professional qualifications.

However, the Law Ministry referred the application to the Karnataka High Court. But strangely, the High Court, where Mr. Justice Gowda worked as a judge, expressed its inability to give the details, saying it did not have any information.

Surprised, the applicant moved the Karnataka Bar Council, where Justice Gowda got himself enrolled as an advocate. To his shock and dismay, the Bar Council told him that it did not keep copies of the certificates or the details of his professional qualifications. When he moved the Karnataka Information Commission thereafter, the Bar Council said the details he had sought were given to him. But this turned out to be incorrect.

Taking a serious view, the Karnataka Information Commission, in a recent order, directed the Karnataka Bar Council to provide the information to the applicant and issued a show cause notice, asking it why a compensation of Rs.1,000 should not be awarded to him for the loss he suffered. It directed that the matter be listed for further hearing on July 7.

Since all the authorities concerned had declined to provide the information, Mr. Singh, in a letter, requested Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily to intervene and help him get the details.