The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea that had sought details under the Right to Information Act about a collegium meeting held in 2018, reported PTI.
The petition, filed by activist Anjali Bhardwaj, had challenged a Delhi High Court order that had said that no disclosure about the collegium meeting could be made since no resolution was passed, reported Live Law. The meeting about which Bharadwaj had sought details was held on December 12, 2018.
A division bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar held that although certain discussions may have taken place during the meeting, they did not lead to any decision.
“Collegium is a multi member body whose decision is a resolution,” the bench said. “The consultation [of the Collegium in that meeting] was not concluded and was, therefore, adjourned.”
During Friday’s hearing, the court also said that only the final decision of the collegium was required to be uploaded on the Supreme Court website, and not the discussions that took place during its meetings.
The petition had cited a October 3, 2017, resolution of the collegium that had decided to share its decisions on its website whenever recommendations are sent to the government, reported Bar and Bench. However, the plea argued that on December 12, 2018, a meeting of the collegium was held in which certain decisions were taken, but no information about it was uploaded on the website.
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the information regarding appointments and recommendations by the Supreme Court collegium could not be regarded as a protected class of documents.
The plea cited an interview of former Supreme Court judge Madan Lokur, who was part of the collegium meeting in December 2018. The former judge had alleged that a decision to recommend the elevation of two High Court Chief Justices was finalised in the meeting, but it was later changed after his retirement.
However, a resolution of the January 10, 2019 collegium meeting had recorded that the decision of December 12, 2018 was revisited in the light of additional material, reported Live Law.