The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Registrar General of the Allahabad High Court and the Central Information Commission on a public interest writ petition challenging the RTI rules framed by the High Court.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar issued notice on the PIL filed by Common Cause, after hearing its counsel Prashant Bhushan, who submitted that the rules were unduly restrictive as it limited the information that could be sought not only with respect to the subject but also with respect to the number of questions or items. Mr. Bhushan said such a restriction would cause great hardship to information seekers. Further these Rules were not in consonance with the RTI Act, he said.
The petitioner said: “The said Rules clearly violate Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, which, as per the interpretation of this Court, guarantees to all Indian citizens the fundamental right to information. The Central Information Commission has repeatedly asked the Allahabad High Court to modify its RTI Rules, but its recommendations have been ignored. Putting undue and prohibitive restrictions on this right, especially by virtue of rules which bear no nexus with the object of the Act, amounts to negating the idea of a society, which can make informed choices and where every citizen, and not just some selected few, enjoys an equal right to information.”
It said: “This right cannot be allowed to be disturbed, especially by rules that are not backed by legislative sanction. If the rules drafted by the Allahabad High Court are allowed to stand, it would negate the citizen’s right to information under the RTI Act and frustrate the implementation of the latter.” The petitioner sought a declaration that the relevant rules were ultra vires the Constitution.