All publications of Madhuram Modani . Jaipur , India
OFFICE OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA NOW COMES UNDER RTI ACT: IS IT JUSTIFIABLE
“A society without legislature is conceivable, and indeed, legislative organs didn't make their
appearance within the state until times , but a civilized state without a judicial organ and
machinery is hardly conceivable.”
The Government of India consists of three organs i.e. Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. the
facility in these 3 organs is vested by the constitution of India and it follows the separation of
power to possess a system of checks and balances. Where the legislature is responsible of
creating laws, the chief is liable for enforcement of laws, and therefore the judiciary has got to
interpret the Constitution and laws also as dispute resolution.
JUDICIARY AND INDEPENDENCE
Judiciary in India consists of the Supreme court, High courts, and District courts. THE supreme
court of India is an apex court and last appeals court in India. The article 124(1) of the Indian
constitution says that there shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a judge of India and
other Judges. judge of India is that the head of the apex court and therefore the judiciary of
India. Indian constitution treats every citizen equally and to guard the rights of those citizens, it's
given the facility to the judiciary to form decisions supported rule of law and resolute disputes.
thanks to such authority judiciary in India is an independent body and it's not controlled by the
govt. and doesn't represent any political authority.The right to information may be a right given
to any citizen to request information from a “public authority” (a body of state or "instrumentality
of State") which is required to reply expeditiously and within thirty days.
Right to Information Act, 2005 is an Act which lays down rules and regulations for citizen’s right
to information.In a democratic country, transparency is vital because public officials during a
democracy are accountable to the general public .The RTI Act enables the general public to
urge the specified information from the general public officials and therefore the public can hold
the officials accountable.In November 2019 supreme court of India held that the office of the
judge of India will come under the ambit of the proper to Information Act, 2005. it's a landmark
judgment by the apex court against itself. Now the question arises why it's justifiable to mention
that office of CJI should come under the RTI Act. Does it hamper the independence of the
IS SUPREME COURT A PUBLIC AUTHORITY.
Section 2(e) of the RTI Act defines ‘competent authority’ and section 2(e)(ii) says competent
authority means the judge of India within the case of the Supreme Court. Section 2(h) of the RTI
Act defines ‘public authority’ and Term ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act
includes any authority or body or an establishment of self-government established by the
Constitution or under the Constitution. As per the article 124 of the Indian constitution judge of
India (CJI) and judges are a neighborhood of the supreme court and it's undebatable to mention that the supreme court may be a public authority. consistent with as per sub-clause (ii) in clause
(e) to Section 2 judge of India may be a competent authority. within the view of the article 124 of
the Indian constitution supreme court which may be a public authority necessarily includes CJI
and other judges. The office judge or other judges may be a part of the supreme court and
judge of India isn't a separate public authority instead it's a head of the institution which may be
a public authority.
On examining the definition clause 2(f) of THE RTI Act, the court in Khanapuram Gandaiah v.
Administrative Officer held that any information which is accessible and available to a public
authority are often provided to an applicant under section 6 of the RTI Act.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION NOT AN ABSOLUTE RIGHTS
According to clause (i) to Section 2 of the RTI Act, information is defined to mean ‘material of
any form’ including record, documents, emails, memos, advices, logbooks, contracts, reports,
papers, samples, models, data material held in electronic form, etc. section 3 of the RTI Act that
right to information is subject to conditions and exemptions under the RTI Act. Thus, the proper
isn't absolute. This was also interpreted within the case Thalappalam Service Cooperative Bank
Limited (supra) versus state of Kerala1 where court interpreted that section 8 of the RTI Act
begins with a non-obstante clause, which provides that section an overriding effect, just in case
of conflict, over the opposite provisions of the Act. Section 8 states that there the general public
authority isn't obliged to offer information to any citizen of what has been mentioned in clauses
(a) to (j). just in case it's personal, the knowledge are often made available only subject to the
restrictions provided in Section 8(j) of the RTI Act.
DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY
As democracy is understood as people’s govt. it's important to make sure transparency and
accountability for the greater interest of the general public in rem. The RTI Act enables citizens
with the proper to access information available with public authorities and this helps in balancing
diverse interests by providing the general public with the specified information and keeping the
confidentiality of sensitive information.
RIGHT TO PRIVACY
Right to privacy which was recognized because the fundamental right in K.S. Puttaswamy and
Another v. Union of India and others2. is protected under clause (j) to Section 8(1) and Section
11. Clause (j) to Section 8(1) and Section 11 exempts disclosure of data which is considered
personal and is distinct from information concerning public Activity and such information would
cause unwarranted invasion to privacy if disclosed, unless its disclosure is within the public
interest. If an information which is regarded confidential by a 3rd party and it's disclosed by third
party disclosure of such information is exempted under section 11 of the RTI Act, 20053.
CJI UNDER RTI,ACT:A JUSTIFIED JUDGEMENT
In Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association and Others v. Union of India supreme
court4 held that the independence of the judiciary is a part of the basic structure of our
constitution. Thus in it can’t be violated in any case.The judgmentconstitutional bench in November 2019 is justiciable. this may not only not hamper the
independence of the judiciary but it'll also make the courts more transparent. The judgment
within the case “CENTRAL PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
versus SUBHASH CHANDRA AGARWAL” may be a win for transparency. The judgment
doesn’t hinder the independence of the judiciary. Judges enjoy a constitutional post and
discharge public duty in order that they cannot function in total insulation. albeit judicial
independence is to be maintained but the organ's independence is to be shielded from the
legislature and therefore the executive and judiciary isn't free from public scrutiny. People are
entitled to understand what public authority is doing.
The RTI Act clearly maintains a balance between the public’s right to information and
confidential and personal information thus ensuring accountability and transparency at greater
levels. Supreme court as per the article 124 of the constitution may be a public authority and
therefore the RTI Act provides the general public with the proper to urge information from public
authorities. Judicial independence isn't a private right of the judge but it’s a responsibility given.
During the hearing5, judge Gogoi observed that within the name of transparency, one cannot
destroy the institution. Even right to information isn't an absolute right, there are certain
limitations which need to be followed to make sure the proper to privacy, independence of
judiciary, tip , etc. The bench also held that albeit it's citizen's right to understand it need to be
balanced with judges' individual right to privacy. Justice Ramana6, who concurred with Justice
Khanna, said there should be a balancing formula for the proper to Privacy and therefore the
Right to transparency and independence of the judiciary should be shielded from breach.