The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on Wednesday on the pleas challenging the Delhi High Court order to bring the chief justice of India’s office within the purview of the Right to Information Act, PTI reported. A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by outgoing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, is expected to pass the judgement at 2 pm.
Other than Gogoi, the bench is comprised of Justices NV Ramana, DY Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna. The top court had on April 4 reserved its ruling on the appeals filed in 2010 by the Supreme Court’s secretary general and central public information officer, challenging the Delhi High Court order.
The court had then said that nobody wanted a “system of opaqueness”, however, the judicial system cannot be damaged for transparency, according to PTI. “Nobody wants to remain in the state of darkness or keep anybody in the state of darkness,” it had said. “The question is drawing a line.”
The attorney general had then argued on three cases which the Supreme Court was considering together – demand for correspondence between the collegium and the government, information on disclosure of assets of sitting judges and information on alleged attempts made by a Union minister in 2009 to influence a Madras High Court judge.
In January 10, 2010, the Delhi High Court had ruled that the CJI’s office came under the ambit of the RTI. It had in an 88-page judgement said that judicial independence was not a privilege but a responsibility of a judge.
A three-judge bench of the High Court comprised of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justices Vikramjit Sen and S Muralidhar had delivered the verdict. Shah and Sen have retired while Murlidhar is a sitting judge of the High Court.
RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal had filed an application seeking the correspondence between the Supreme Court Collegium and the government on the appointment of judges. The top court had refused to provide the information and the case moved to the Central Information Commission, which ruled in favour of Agarwal in 2009.
The Supreme Court had then appealed to the Delhi High Court, which dismissed the appeal. In November 2010, the top court had appealed to itself and a bench referred it to a three-judge bench.
In August 2016, the three-judge bench referred it to a Constitution bench.
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