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Thread: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI

  1. #65
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    Col NR Kurup (Retd)
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    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI


    This incident has opened a serious issue. Was Shruthi Singh Chouhan aware that the fight is against the opinion of CJI ? Is she competent to deal with this case ? If cityzens who are not well equipped to fight the case get into such issues the judiciary or public authorities or government will make use of this opportunity to thjeir advantage. I do not know whether she is capable of employing a suitable Advocate or the issue will be taken over by competent RTI Activists. I think it is our duty to tell such RTI enthusiast to refrain from bitting more than what they can swallow.



  2. #66
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    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI


    I am sure that Ms Shruti Singh Chauhan knows what she is doing. Besides the CIC, her name also comes up frequently in various orders of SIC's. Just search for her name on the CIC website and you will get many orders/decisions with her name as appellant. Here are just two examples:

    https://apic.gov.in/QRTRLY/SCIC/2007/II/1747-2007.pdf

    https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/2685-d...ty-notice.html

    From the newspaper report, it does not appear that she has gone to Court. It is the Central Government which has gone to Court against the order of CIC to place the file relating to transfer of High Court Judges, before it.

    But the stand taken by the Government is surprising because earlier on 23 March 2007, the CIC had allowed disclosure (subject to severability under Sec 10) regarding the appointment of Justice Virender Jain as CJ of Punjab & Haryana High Court. Since the appellant has not come back to the CIC till now (no further reference available on CIC website), I presume that the information was disclosed. Please see:

    https://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_23032007_01.pdf

    There is no reference to the order referred to in the news report on the CIC website. So, one really does not know what is the crux of the matter.

  3. #67

    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI


    This is a very ticklish issue. In a democracy like ours all the three 'arms' namely the executive, the judiciary and the legislature have their own defined functions. Their functions should be exercised in a harmonious was as to ensure that there is no clash of interest over supremacy of authority. It is better to resolve such issues without compromising the authority of any one of this.

  4. #68
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    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI



    Taurus,

    The issue here is not about the balance of power between the three main organs of our constitution.

    The main issue is whether the "foundation" of democracy. that is "We the People" have the right to seek information from constitutional offices under the RTI Act.

  5. #69
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    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI


    You are very correct. It is time for our Hon'ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha to open his mind again. How can the so called Constitutional Offices assume that they are above the Constitution ? THE CONSTITUTION IS SUPREME. No one has any authority to absolve themselves from the enactment made under the Constitution.

  6. #70

    Re: RTI Act does not apply to my office: CJI


    Comments from Sailesh Gandhi on Add. Solicitor General's Submission
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    I feel the apparently frivolous contention of the Add.Solicitor General in
    the Delhi High Court and the stay obtained
    may have serious implications on the Right to Information movement. To my knowledge there is no definition of "Constitutional functionaries"
    and therefore could be taken to mean,- all autorities mentioned in the
    Constitution. MPs, ministers and a host of others have been mentioned
    in the Constitution and the claim for an untenable immunity from RTI appears to be without any basis in law. However, given the fact that in that case the judiciary will be acting as a judge in its own cause, the final
    outcome seems preordained. It will be worthwhile for activists to voice
    their strong disagreement on this condemnable attempt to subvert the RTI act.

    I am giving below the NCPRI statement, and request all activists to spread
    this widely and also voice their own disagreements strongly:
    NCPRI Statement on the Central Government's attempt to reduce the
    scope and coverage of the Right to Information Act.

    An unnecessary controversy has been created by the contention of the
    Additional Solicitor General claiming in the Delhi High court that the
    Right to Information does not apply to what he calls "Constitutional
    functionaries" . A non-existent legal immunity is being claimed for a
    section of Public servants, and the applicability of the Right to
    Information with regard to information regarding them or their
    actions. It will be worthwhile to recall that Justice Mathew ruled-"In
    a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the
    public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few
    secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public
    act, everything that is done in a public way by their public
    functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every
    public transaction in all its bearing. Their right to know, which is
    derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is
    a factor which should make one wary when secrecy is claimed for
    transactions which can at any rate have no repercussion on public
    security."

    Thus claiming secrecy for the transactions of a few arbitrarily
    chosen few Public servants would be feudal and not in consonance with
    the preamble of the Right to Information Act. No information can be
    kept secret from the sovereign Citizens of India, based on the
    imagined superiority of some so called constitutional functionaries.
    Since there is no definition or mention of the term 'Constitutional
    funcionaries' as being exempt under the RTI act, he perhaps means all
    those mentioned in the Constitution. It would then cover all
    Ministers, Members of Parliament and many other functionaries
    mentioned in the Constitution. This is completely erroneous and would
    render the RTI act and all laws meaningless. Further we might point
    out that all the authorities covered by the RTI act have been defined
    as 'Public Authorities' under Section 2 (h) of the Act, which states,"

    "(h) "public authority" means any authority or body or institution of
    self- government established or constituted—
    (a) by or under the Constitution;
    (b) by any other law made by Parliament;

    The so-called "constitutional functionaries" have been established or
    constituted by or under the Constitution. And if they have not been
    established or constituted by or under the Constitution, how do they
    come to acquire their positions.

    Some arguments have been raised about the whether a judge's
    transfer can be challenged. This is not the same as seeking of
    information about their transfers. Whether an action is illegal or not
    is an independent matter, and must not be confused with providing
    information about it. The National Campaign for People's Right to
    Information, urges the Government to correct the erroneous contention
    which it has filed in Court.

    Sd/-
    Shailesh Gandhi (Convenor), Aruna Roy, Jagdeep Chhokkar, Trilochan
    Sastry, Maja Daruwala, Venkatesh Nayak, Nikhil Delhi on behalf of
    NCPRI Working Committee.
    --
    Love
    shailesh
    All my emails are in Public domain.
    Satyamevajayate

  7. #71

    No right to know your judges: Govt


    No right to know your judges: Govt

    As reported by Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, August 22, 2008

    The Government does not want people to know their judges. The Ministry
    of Law and Justice has said the Right To Information Act does not
    cover Supreme Court and High Court judges.

    "Constitutional authorities like the President, Chief Justice of
    India, Supreme Court judges, Chief Justices of High Courts and other
    judges of the High Courts are outside the purview of the Right to
    Information Act," the ministry has told Delhi High Court."

    The Act itself doesn't exempt constitutional bodies. (See accompanying
    box for those exempted).

    The Delhi High Court is hearing a Law Ministry petition challenging
    the Central Information Commission's order demanding from the ministry
    access to files related to the transfer of High Court judges between
    2005-07.

    The ministry's stand on RTI for judges comes at a time when the
    judiciary itself appears keen to become more accountable. Chief
    justice K. G. Balakrishnan wrote recently to Chief Justices of all
    High Courts asking them to make judges declare their assets.

    When contacted, the Law Ministry refused to give reasons for its decision.

    Its decision is in sharp contrast to the stand taken by the
    Parliamentary committee on Law, Justice and Personnel in a report it
    gave Parliament in May: "Except the judicial decision making, all
    other activities of administration and persons included in the
    judiciary are subject to RTI Act."

    https://www.hindustantimes.com/storypage/storypage.aspx?sectionName=&id=5fa5f536-192f-4808-b6c3-eaa8c874c125&&Headline=No+right+to+know+your+judges%3a+Govt&strParent=strParentID

  8. #72
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    CJI’’s office comes under purview of RTI Act, says CIC


    As reported by CJI’’s office comes under purview of RTI Act, says CIC
    Information Officer, Wajahat Habibullah, today said that the office of the Chief Justice of India does come under the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
    Delivering a talk on “Working of Right to Information Act Issues and Challenges” at the Observer Research Foundation, a press release of the foundation quoted Habibullah as saying that the Central Information Commission would hear soon some petitions pending on the issue. The press release further quoted the CIC as saying that he had had discussions with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariat to improve flow of information regarding the functioning of Members of Parliament.
    He said the purview of the RTI went beyond Central and State governments, encompassing any body which has received government funding. This includes institutions like SGPC, Distcoms, Stock Exchanges, aided schools, etc.
    According to the press release, the CIC said there is a need to effect changes in the training of government officials where they are told not to impart with government information to public though they themselves are paid from the public money of tax payers.
    The CIC described as “complete anachronism” the Official Secrets Act of 1923. He said the Commission has suggested to the government to repeal it, but no progress has been made in this regard.
    Noting that in some cases even the PIOs (principal information officers) themselves were not aware of their roles, the CIC was quoted by the press release as saying that though there many issues to be tackled, he has no doubt that the RTI Act has become a powerful tool even for the weak and illiterate people to get information which otherwise would have been near to impossible to get.
    “This is the Act people can use and will use it,” the CIC said, noting that the largest users in Delhi are slum dwellers and women.
    He said now the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) has also been brought under the RTI Act, which rural people are using.
    The CIC said there is an urgent need to bring in uniformity and homogeneity of the fees under RTI Act to make it easier and affordable to all citizens. He also felt that the Commission should be empowered to take contempt action in case of poor compliance to improve compliance level.
    He also admitted that the victimisation fear among some applicants is also a real problem which needs to be addressed.
    The CIC welcomed the suggestion of the President of ORF Centre for Politics and Governance, Mr. Surendra Singh, that ORF would like to present the Commission its study on the various aspects connected with the RTI Act and how to make it more effective.
    Surendra Singh, a former Cabinet Secretary, said though RTI has made lots of progress, there are still many issues which needed to be tackled. He listed coverage of the RTI Act, awareness among citizens, the userfriendliness, the cost factor, the impact of Official Secrets Act, fear of victimisation among applicants, etc as some of the issues impacting the effectiveness of the RTI Act. (ANI)

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