Parliament should step in to resolve the vexed issue of bringing the country’s top judge under the information law, India’s senior-most legal official has said.
Parliament should bring in an enactment or the Supreme Court give a definitive ruling to resolve the situation arising out of the Delhi High Court’s verdict on Tuesday, Attorney General Goolam E. Vahanvati said on Thursday. The Delhi court has ruled that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) falls under the Right to Information Act.
Asked if the apex court should sit in judgment for itself in the case, Vahanvati said: “It is absurd to say the Supreme Court is deciding its own case. It is deciding the issue pertaining to the Supreme Court which it has done in the past…”
“The Supreme Court on its judicial side has nothing to do with its administrative side.”
Vahanvati, who represented the court registry in the case, sought to dispel the impression that he was keen on challenging the verdict. The decision to file an appeal would be taken by the Supreme Court judges, he said.
It were the high court judges who said as the case involved substantial questions of law and general importance, it should be decided by the apex court, the attorney general said.
He took up the case on firm conviction that “the independence of the judiciary cannot be compromised by exposing every aspect of the work of the courts to public scrutiny”.
Vahanvati said he was not for a blanket ban, but the CJI should have the discretion to decide on the kind of information to be made public. The offices of the president, prime minister and CJI should be given some protection.