Judiciary comes under RTI ambit, says House panel

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Apr 29 | Updated: May 1 2008, 05:15am hrs
Except for judicial pronouncements all other activities in Judiciary including its administration come under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) law, a Parliamentary panel on Tuesday said.

Except the judicial decision making, all other activities of administration and the persons included in it (judiciary) are subject to RTI Act, said the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Law and Justice.

The panel headed by E M Sudarsana Natchiappanan gave its opinion on the issue in the backdrop of a raging controversy over whether the judiciary comes under the RTI purview.

Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan had recently said that the CJI is a constitutional authority and does not come within the purview of RTI Act.

The committee, which went into the demands of grants for the Personnel ministry and discussed the interpretation of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, that is, definition of public authority, said the provision is very clear that all the constitutional authorities come under the definition of public authority.

The committee had examined in detail every clause of the RTI Act, 2004 and was conscious of the fact that all the wings of the stateexecutive, legislature and judiciary are fully covered under this Act since all organs of the state are accountable to the citizens of India in a democratic state.

It is more so since the judiciary is having dual role as (i) administrative function and (ii) judicial decision making. Except, the judicial decision-making, all other activities of administration and the person included in it are subject to RTI Act, the committee said. This is the pith and substance of this enactment, the report added.

The committee, which also raised concern about vacancies, which prevailed in Central Information Commission (CIC), the apex body for RTI, further recommended that time bound steps should be taken to fill vacancies in CIC.

The panel besides other recommendations also favoured implementation of Sachar Committee recommendations .

"Proper Quarterly review of mechanism should be chalked out to ensure that the recommendations of the Sachar Committee are analysed in detail and are implemented in letter and spirit," the committee said.