CIC cannot ask information on judges’ appointment: Court

March 4th, 2009 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order after the central government pleaded that documents relating to the appointment and transfer of judges could not be revealed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The government had challenged the CIC order that had asked it to disclose documents on the appointment of the chief justice of Himachal Pradesh.

Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra pleaded before Justice S. Ravindra Bhat that such information is beyond the purview of the RTI Act.

“Correspondence between constitutional authorities is beyond the purview of the Act and the commission erred in law by directing (the government) to disclose it,” the government said in its petition.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat stayed the CIC order and issued a notice to the RTI applicant on whose plea the Commission had passed the direction.

On Jan 19, the CIC had directed the government to disclose all information and file notings on the appointment of Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla, whose promotion file had been returned by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Chief Justice Bhalla, who was earlier acting chief justice of Chhattisgarh, had faced allegations of misconduct during his previous tenure in the Allahabad High Court.

In 2006, he was recommended to be elevated as the chief justice of Kerala. But the move ran into controversy after the then president raised an objection.

The apex court collegium headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan then transferred him to the Chhattisgarh High Court as judge. Later, he became the acting chief justice of that high court.

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