RTI appeal gets 3 different responses from 3 High Courts
[The title of the news story should read as "RTI Application" and not RTI Appeal--Ganpat]
NEW DELHI: In what is a classic case of disparate ways of interpreting the same law, a Right to Information (RTI) request has elicited different responses from different courts, as appellant Shruti Singh Chauhan has discovered.
The information that Chauhan asked from three high courts was the same: the total budget; the procedure for the appointment of staff and the vacancies; the number of judgments reserved in each court; and finally the sting in tail the number and nature of complaints against each judge.
While the Delhi High Court refused to give information on any of the queries, the fledgling Chhattisgarh HC gave detailed replies to the questions. Interestingly, the Allahabad HC refused the petition asking her to submit separate applications for each item of information and a fee of Rs 500 for each.
Chauhan had filed the RTI request asking for information on the total budget of the particular court along with a break-up of the amount available with each department, the number of judgments that have been reserved and since when, the number of complaints against each judge serving in the court, and procedure for appointment of class III and IV employees and a list of vacancies.
In theory, the response of three HCs should have been the same. Surprisingly, Chauhan received varied responses from each court.
The Delhi High Court ruled that it could not give information on its budget under rule 4(IV) and 5(a) of the Delhi HC (Right to Information) Rules, 2006. Rule 4(IV) says information on any decision that is taken administratively or quasi judicially...shall be available only to the affected persons while rule 5(a) gives exemption from disclosure if the information which is not in the public domain or does not relate to judicial functions and duties of the court and matters incidental and ancillary thereto.