The Commission's recommendation came in light of an RTI applicant's plea wherein suggestions were made for the apex judiciary to frame rules under the transparency law, enabling access to court records in an electronic format.

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Supreme Court to consider computerising all its records as mandated under the two-year-old Right to Information law.

The Commission's recommendation came in light of an RTI applicant's plea wherein suggestions were made for the apex judiciary to frame rules under the transparency law, enabling access to court records in an electronic format.

"The Right to Information Act mandates computerisation of all records. This will also 'mutatis mutandis' apply to all court records. In this context, the suggestion of appellant R Ramachandran is salutary and is recommended for consideration of the Supreme Court," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has said.

Ramachandran, a resident of Cheyyar in Tamil Nadu, in his information plea had sought from the Supreme Court details about a writ petition filed with it. He further suggested the apex court to make rules that would enable furnishing of records available with it in an electronic form.

Finding relevance in the suggestion of the applicant, Habibullah in his order quoted provisions of the RTI Act which calls upon every public authority to maintain their records in a computerised format and connected through a network all across the country.

The RTI Act, which ensures citizens of access to information held by public offices falling under its ambit, has laid considerable importance on computerisation of all government records.

The apex information body has also approached the government to integrate the Centre's ambitious National E-Governance Programme (NeGP) with the RTI network, an attempt that would ensure online access of information held by public offices.

Ramachandran's application of August 11 last year had sought from the Supreme Court address of parties to a writ petition, while also seeking a copy of the petition filed before the court.

The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court in its reply asked the applicant to apply for a copy of the petition as per the provisions of the Supreme Court Rules.

The reply stated that as the matter was sub-judice, any attempt to seek relevant records could be effected only through an application seeking certified copies of the same.

Not satisfied with the response given, Ramachandran moved an appeal before the Commission seeking appropriate orders. He also suggested the apex judiciary to frame rules under the RTI Act in ensuring computerisation of all its records.

The Commission in its decision concurred with the opinion of the Supreme Court in calling for an application from Ramachandran seeking certified copies of the documents sought by him.

Referring to an earlier decision, the Commission said that despite differences between RTI Act and the Supreme Court in practices and procedures in respect to accessing judicial files, there was no "inherent inconsistency" between the two.

"...Neither provision (Supreme Court rules and RTI Act) prohibits or forbids dissemination of information or grant of copies of records," Habibullah said in his order.


Deccan Herald - Computerise all court records, CIC to Supreme Court


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