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Thread: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?

  1. #1
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    Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    We come across the CIC/SICs ordering appearance of appellants for hearing. Often we do find their styles of functioning similar to that of courts. Some SICs insist the appellant to present the case in a way similar to the presentation of cases by prosecution. Even in cases, where the PIO and his AA is deemed refused information and the appellant does not know what to defend one fail to understand asto what can one present more than what he has presented in his application and appeals. In cases where the CIC/SICs have obtained comments of the PIO/AA to the second appeal and it is communicated to the appellant, there is some meaning in his attendence. The RTI Act does not say that the Commissions are Court. It has vested only certain powers of the court under CPC 1908, to the Commissions. The Act does not declare the proceedings under RTI Act as judicial proceedings. In fact the role of the CIC/SICs appears akin to the Ombudsman. Under these circumstances I invite views on this aspect from the members.



  2. #2

    Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    Mr. Kurup,
    There is two type of function one is quasi judicial and second is judicial. The quasi judicial functions are being done by Govt himself. So many commissions fromed by Govt are working like a civil court. In my views public authority is bound to follow the orders of superiors and other only court. If these commission not having the status of court who will obey the orders. DCF, NHRC, CLB, CIC and so many others commission must have the status of civil court to ensure the implementations the orders.

  3. Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    Respected Colonel Sir,
    Thanks for raising this very important point. I am of the view that the CIC/SICs are not Ombudsman. Ombudsman is a popular name for an official appointed to receive and investigate the complaints of citizens about the government and its officials. The CIC / SICs are courts in view of the following definitions of the word "court" in a famous law dictionary:-
    1. A Court is a body in the government to which the public administration of justice is delegated; an organised body, with defined powers, meeting at certain times, and places, for the hearing and decisionof causes and other matters brought before it, and aided in this, its proper business, clerks to record and attest its acts and decisions, and ministerial officers to execute its commands and secure order in its proceedings.
    2. Court is "a tribunal empowered to hear and determined issues between parties upon pleadings either oral or written, and upon evidence to be adduced under well defined and established rules, according to settled principles of law."
    I would also like to add here that the word "court" has not been defined in any act of the Legislature. Therefore, the definition given at various places like dictionaries assume significance. Therefore, there is no doubt that the CIC/SICs are the courts.

    As regards to the defending the case by the appellant, I would suggest that he should keep in mind S.19(5). Since the onus is on the PIO, it is the PIO, who should defend the case. The role of the appellant is limited only to weeken his defence, which is easier than proving.

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    Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?



    Quote Originally Posted by vashisthvivek View Post

    As regards to the defending the case by the appellant, I would suggest that he should keep in mind S.19(5). Since the onus is on the PIO, it is the PIO, who should defend the case. The role of the appellant is limited only to weeken his defence, which is easier than proving.
    Very important to remember this !
    RTI Act 2005 is one of the only acts where the onus is completely on the PIO (and hence the PA) to defend their actions/decisions.

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    Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    You are absolutely correct. The doubt arose only due to the CIC's seeking from government in their conference of 17-10-2007 approval declaring their proceedings as "judicial proceedings"

  6. Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    Quote Originally Posted by colnrkurup View Post
    You are absolutely correct. The doubt arose only due to the CIC's seeking from government in their conference of 17-10-2007 approval declaring their proceedings as "judicial proceedings"
    Like sngupta has correctly pointed out that the CIC decision are quasi judicial in nature, hence the need for the CIC to seek approval from the Govt. as mentioned by you.

    Manoj Pai

  7. Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    I think there is no need to seek the approval of the Government. When there is a statutory provision, it is duty of the Government to help the commissions to implement their orders. Otherwise the Governments are failing in their Constitutional obligations.

  8. #8
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    Re: Are The Commissions Are Courts ?


    I think we are missing the 'catch' . The CIC's ultimate aim is to get the Contempt of Court Powers. He can get this only after the Government declare it as Court. Presently it has only certain specified powers of court which as a routine even a Deputy Collector (a Class II State Government official) of a Land Board has. Now the CIC/SICs cannot punish a PA; but can only submit a report against them to the Government. The ICs who doesnot have the guts even to implement Section 20 of the RTI Act fully will not be able to use the Contempt of Court Powers judiciously though it can satisfy their ego and help them to churn out unlawful orders like CIC's (Management) Regulations. Belive me, it is not easy to punish a man. It will be very painful unless one is used to it. The Judges of judiciary order punishment as a routine just because they are used to it during their entire career . In the case of CIC/SICs, they might not have awarded few punishments like warning/severe warning during their entire carreer cannot do anything more than this even if they are given the powers.

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