The government intends to move court against the Central Information Commission’s directive to hand over a copy of the file on appointment of Justice Vijender Jain as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court under the right to information law.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) had turned down the law ministry claim for exemption from furnishing the appointment file in March-end and given the government a month to implement the directive.
A Delhi resident, Subhash Chander Aggarwal, had asked for the file relating to the appointment of Justice Jain as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court last year. President APJ Abdul Kalam had sent back the appointment file to the government the first time but signed his warrant of appointment after it was put up the file the second time.
A senior government functionary on Friday made it clear that the government was in no hurry to implement the CIC decision.
“The government will seek a stay on the directive,” the government functionary said.
This, however, will not be the first time; the government has already sought judicial review on rulings that UPSC disclose cut-offs in civil services examination and make public letters written by former President KR Narayanan to the NDA government during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The government is uncomfortable at the prospect of the CIC decision becoming a precedent if it goes unchallenged. The CIC had grounded its latest transparency directive on a Supreme Court judgment delivered by Justice PN Bhagwati that had ruled in favour of transparency in judicial appointments.
Justice Bhagwati had noted that it was important that various constitutional functionaries expressed their views freely and frankly. “But we do not think that the candour and frankness of these constitutional functionaries in expressing their views would be affected if they felt that the correspondence exchanged between them would be liable to be disclosed in a subsequent judicial proceedings,” the judgment quoted by the CIC in its decision, observed.