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SC official issued summons under RTI

The court official lands on the wrong side of the Act for failure to give data.

delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2007 17:18 IST

In the first summons ever to a Supreme Court official, the Central Information Commission has asked the senior functionary to explain his failure to respond to a Delhi resident's plea for information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah issued directions April 2 to the apex court's administrative registrar for a personal appearance at the commission at 12 noon on May 25.

Habibullah asked the official to explain why he should not pay a penalty of Rs 250 for each day of denying the requisite information to Zilley Singh. According to the RTI, a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 can be imposed.

The official was asked to provide the requisite information to Zilley Singh within 10 days of the order.

Zilley Singh had filed an application before the apex court in a case related to perjury and wanted to know its status.

He complained to the commission September 22, 2006 that his request submitted to the administrative registrar, also functioning as chief public information officer under the RTI Act, had not been responded to. He had applied for the information May 10, 2006.

An administrative registrar's post is equivalent to that of a district court judge. After promotion as registrar general of the apex court, the official could be elevated to high court judge.

This is the second time the CIC has come out with a ruling against the Supreme Court in its bid to infuse more transparency in the administrative functioning of the court.

In a path-breaking order March 23, the commission had directed the department of justice under the law ministry to make public a file on the appointment of Justice Vijender Jain as chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The order has given the department of justice a month's time till April 22 to disclose to Aggarwal "all file notings and opinion of the Supreme Court Collegium's member judges on the appointment file".

President APJ Abdul Kalam had in October last year returned the file for Jain's appointment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raising some queries.

Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, at a press meet on Sunday, refused to answer the agency queries on the CIC orders, saying that they were not on the agenda of the conference.