CJI under RTI? SC to decide on Wednesday

New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court will on Wednesday decide whether the Chief Justice of India would come under the Right to Information (RTI) or not.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi would pronounce its verdict on the matter.

The bench also comprising Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had on April 4 reserved its order in the case.

The order will be on a plea filed by Supreme Court Secretary-General against the Delhi High Court order holding that the CJI's office comes under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal, who was representing Supreme Court's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), had submitted that sharing information connected with collegium, which is under the CJI office, would make judges and the government shy and destroy judicial independence. CPIO is the authority tasked to respond to RTI queries related to the court.

Appearing for RTI activist Subhash Chander Aggarwal, advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday argued before the bench for the entire day urging the judiciary to put forth the collegium process in public domain.

The verdict in the case will decide whether the CJI's office will come under the ambit of the RTI Act.

The issue arose from an appeal filed by the Supreme Court Secretary-General against the January 2010 judgement of the Delhi High Court that declared the CJI's office a "public authority" within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The present week is a crucial one as it would see various important judgments and it is the last working week of the current CJI. Justice S.A. Bobde, the second senior-most judge of the apex court will be the successor of Justice Gogoi.

On Wednesday, the CJI-led bench will also deliver the judgement on another plea related to the appointments of officials in tribunal issues.

Earlier the top court directed the central government to set up a three-member committee to examine the creation of a regular cadre for appointment to tribunals, setting up of an autonomous oversight body for monitoring of all tribunals, amending the scheme of appeals, and establishing benches of tribunals more accessible to citizens.

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