The Delhi High Court verdict holding that the office of Chief Justice of India is a public authority that comes within the ambit of the Right to Information Act (Jan. 13) and that it is bound to provide information on the declaration of asset details by Supreme Court judges strengthens our faith in the judiciary. It is hoped that the Supreme Court will respect the judgment.
As observed in the editorial, “Not exempt from public scrutiny” (Jan. 13), the gains from transparency would be squandered if the Supreme Court were to use its authority to insulate itself from public scrutiny.
R. Ramachandra Rao,
The Delhi High Court has rightly maintained that the information on assets provided by Supreme Court judges comes under the provisions of the Right to Information Act. In fact, the need for transparency in the higher judiciary is much more than in the lower judiciary because the higher judiciary serves as a role-model for not only other judges but also the executive and the legislature.
Every democratic institution is subject to public scrutiny and the judiciary cannot claim exemption. People’s faith in the democratic institutions is inextricably linked to their openness. As the upholder of the rule of law and the protector of rights, the judiciary, especially its apex body, cannot shy away from being accountable and transparent.
The Right to Information Act is a sharp weapon that the public can use to create transparency. The Delhi High Court verdict will help throw light on many areas of the legal system to which the public had no access so far. Nobody should be above the law.
The spirit of the RTI Act is that ultimately people are the real masters in a parliamentary democracy and they have every right to know the details of a government authority or servant. If the Supreme Court appeals the Delhi High Court verdict, the country will keenly watch the outcome. It will be a watershed in Indian jurisprudence, whatsoever the decision.