20TH NOVEMBER, 2019
|ALL INDIA RADIO|
SPOTLIGHT: CJI UNDER AMBIT OF RTI
Recently a five-judge Bench of Supreme court has passed the judgment of Delhi high court to bring Office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) under RTI act. Time and again, Supreme Court has rejected the plea of bringing judiciary under the ambit of RTI act.
Argument in against of bringing judiciary under RTI:
- Bringing judiciary under ambit of RTI will also bring collegium system under it and hence disclosing the reasons for rejection of a judge would “destroy” his or her life or career.
- The judiciary uses legal and natural justice while giving its judgment which may or may not be well interpreted by common man
- Each and every judgment of the judiciary will be sought by the RTI applicant who will further delay the judgment of already overloaded judiciary system.
- The judiciary will be brought under scanner of Central information commission if brought under RTI which will erode the independence of judiciary.
- It is apprehended that expose of judges to public scrutiny or inquiry would hamper their functioning and independence
Argument in support of bringing judiciary under RTI:
- Over a period of time ,a question mark has been raised upon opaqueness of the collegium system in terms of its appointment ,transfer and promotion of the judges
- If brought under RTI act, it will make judiciary more transparent and accountable and will enhance its credibility among the masses.
- RTI Act itself has an inbuilt privacy-oriented protection, which authorizes withholding the disclosure of personal information unless there is an overriding public interest.
- A judiciary that is confident of itself and of its place in the democratic republic should not be worried about subjecting judicial appointments to public scrutiny.
- Public can legitimately ask of the workings of the judiciary, such as verdicts delayed after the arguments have been heard.
- The SC ruling paves the way for political parties to be brought under the RTI Act. Since registered political parties have affirmed their allegiance to the Constitution, Article 19 1 (a) of the Constitution, which upholds right to information, must apply to them. The apex court will now have the moral heft to extend the RTI to political parties, whose finances are a subject of considerable mystery.
- But the independence of the office of the Chief Information Commissioner is under threat. The Centre has not done too well on this count, seeking to bring his terms of appointment under Central control.
Judicial independence is not a judge’s personal privilege but a responsibility cast upon him. A Judge must keep himself absolutely above suspicion, to preserve the impartiality and independence of the judiciary and to have the public confidence thereof .It is irony that the two foremost spillars of democracy i.e the political party and judiciary, in which transparency and accountability is most required, has kept itself aloof of the purview of RTI act