24 April 2007

The Delhi High Court has stayed the execution of the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the government to reveal information on Justice Vijender Jain's appointment as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

While acting on the government's petition, Justice B D Ahmed asked the respondents - the CIC and Subhash Chandra Aggrawal, the information seeker, to file their replies by May 24.

Government Counsel Rajive Mehra submitted that, "The impugned order is contrary to the provision of 8 (1)(e) of Right to Information Act (RTI). There is no obligation to disclose information available to a person in a judicial relationship.

Cabinet papers including, records of deliberations of the council of ministers, bureaucrates, other officers concerned which came under section 8 of the Act, shall not be disclosed.

Under Article 217 of the Constitution, records of the collegium of the Supreme Court, made to the Ministry of Law and Justice and subsequently to the Prime Minister and Presidnet would be in the nature of advice tendered by the cabinet to the President and hence being privileged and can not be disclosed, said the petition of the government seeking court's direction to strike down the CIC order.

"The conversation between the President and Prime Minister could not be parted with as it was covered by section 8(1)(e) of the RTI and Article 74 of the Constitition," Mr Mehra pointed out.

The CIC had directed the government on March 23 to disclose the contents of the file incuding, the decision of the Supreme Court collegium, communication between Union Law Minister and Chief Justice of India, communication between the President and Prime Minister on Justice Jain.

Delhi HC stays CIC order on Justice Jain's appointment - News.Indlaw.com