Judicial bodies may come under RTI
NAGPUR: The chief information commissioner (CIC) office is set to come out with a ruling which may define the extent of applicability of the right to information (RTI) over judicial or quasi-judicial bodies.
It pertains to a case relating to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Delhi, where some specific information about a case was denied. The ruling is expected in a couple of days or so, country’s chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah told TOI. He was in the city to attend a meeting at the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), which has been declared a centre of excellence for RTI.
In the case, information about certain aspects of the ruling already pronounced by the ITAT, which is a quasi-judicial body, was sought. However, the public information officer (PIO) of the ITAT refused the information maintaining that it was out of the RTI’s purview. The issue is being examined and a ruling would be out soon, mentioned Habibullah. The ruling would throw light on various aspects explaining how far RTI Act can be applied on judicial bodies, he added.
About other plans, he said stress is being laid on holding public hearings through video conferencing. The new system has already picked up doing away with the need of the parties concerned coming all the way to Delhi. Such hearings can be arranged in any city which has a national informatics centre (NIC). Lately, hearings through video conferencing have been arranged in 90 cases, he said.
He also said that in a commendable development a lot of slumdwellers in Delhi have been using the RTI Act to know about their rights. So did the Act bring to fore a lot of information about schools in Delhi. Though the schools did not directly give the information to the applicants it was submitted before the CIC’s office, he added.
Habibullah added that a cabinet committee is reviewing the exemptions from RTI allowed to certain government departments for which it is felt that those should not have been exempt. The issue has been pending with the cabinet for the last six months or so, he mentioned.
Judicial bodies may come under RTI-Nagpur-Cities-The Times of India
Judicial proceedings beyond RTI Act's purview: CIC
NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that judicial proceedings of all courts and tribunals are beyond the purview of the Right to Information Act.
"...a judicial authority must function with total independence and freedom. Should it be found that an action initiated under the RTI Act impinges upon the authority of that judicial body, the Commission will not authorise the use of the RTI Act for any such disclosure requirement," a full bench headed by Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in its 22-page order.
Terming any intrusion in regard to judicial work as "unnecessary", the bench noted "judiciary is independent and all judicial authorities including all courts and tribunals must work independently and without any interference insofar as their judicial work is concerned".
The order came on an application of Delhi-based Chartered Accountant Rakesh Kumar Gupta, who had sought from the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) copies of minutes as maintained by members of its bench in an Income Tax assessment case of Escorts Limited and had also asked for inspection of the case records.
The matter which was taken up with the CIC following ITAT's denial of the information, was contested by the tribunal on the ground that as per relevant rules of Income Tax Act, such copies of its orders could only be provided to the concerned assesses.
The tribunal further contended that Escorts Limited had "strongly objected" to such inspection of the records which contained their IT assessment details.
Judicial proceedings beyond RTI Act's purview: CIC-India-The Times of India
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