Former CJIs, judges split over apex court judgement on RTI Act ambit

The landmark judgement delivered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday bringing the Chief Justice of India’s (CJI) office under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has former CJIs and former judges divided. While some say it brings in more transparency others are ‘sceptical about the repercussions’.

Former CJI T.S. Thakur said, “The judges themselves are saying they are transparent. I am sure all that ‘misuse and abuse’ subjected to this have been considered while delivering the judgement. After all what will you ask the CJI? ‘Where did you go, what did you eat? How did you write this judgement?’ What difference will it make? Everything is already in public domain. If you ask you will get an answer according to the record. The office of the judge is not a matter of security of State.”

Former CJI M.N. Venkatachaliah welcomed the verdict. “This is a good one. I am happy about it. The SC is not infallible.”

Former Delhi High Court judge Vikramjit Sen who had upheld that the SC and the CJI have statutory duty to furnish information sought by citizens regarding the functioning and administration of the SC, said, “It is a good judgement, a landmark one.”

However, former CJI K.G. Balakrishnan said he is sceptical about it. “Let’s see the consequences. Everything is already out in the media and RTI.” Mr. Balakrishnan referred to the lawyers’ strike in Odisha, who have boycotted the CJ’s court, and said, “I am ‘sceptical’ about the decision’s repercussions.”

Former CJI R.M. Lodha also backed Mr. Balakrishnan’s anxiety. “This will bring in transparency, but there are certain aspects which when in public domain may be problematic. Like the appointments or complaints that are made. Some of them may be scandalous which may jeopardise the chances of a candidate.”

Former Bombay High Court judge V.M. Kanade also said overall the judgement does no harm but there should be exceptions. “It is a good move. But there are certain issues where they can make an exception in respect of administrative matters and some matters where the opinion of CJI becomes personal. In the administration of judiciary, there are so many issues which cannot come before the public, particularly the collegium. Sensitive issues like one’s personal life should be excluded from the ambit,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 4:37:25 PM |

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