Even when the Supreme Court has banned the use of black films restricting vision beyond permissible limits for vehicles across India, it has refused to divulge details about the status of its own fleet of cars for PUC certificates and dark films/tinted glasses.
In reply to a query under Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Supreme Court registrar supplied incomplete information about its vehicles.
Among the several questions that Jagjit Singh, an activist, had asked the SC were the number of government vehicles in use by the apex court, its make, average monthly fuel consumption of each vehicle, copies of pollution under check (PUC) certificates since January, number of vehicles with dark films or tinted glasses and who uses which vehicles.
The registrar office did answer that the Supreme Court uses 72 vehicles and gave a break up that 40 vehicles are being used by the chief justice, other judges (31 vehicles) and senior officials (9). It also gave partial information about the average fuel consumption and approximate monthly run of all vehicles.
"What about rest of the 32 vehicles? Also, there is no mention whatsoever about the number of vehicles with dark films or company manufactured glass. Instead the reply was: 'The visual light transmission (VLT) of the vehicles is as per the Motor Vehicles rules," Singh said.
Further, the registrar office refused to give copies of PUC certificates stating: "Necessary documents sought for by you cannot be provided since it may disclose information which would endanger the life and physical safety in view of the section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act 2005."
Former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said: "If section 8(1)(g) is being quoted, it is impossible to imagine how revealing the photocopies of PUC certificate could endanger physical safety of life of any person. I think the PIO wanted to crack a joke."
Singh's appeal with the First Appellate Authority resulted in similar evasive replies. He is now awaiting a hearing at the Central Information Commission.