The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the implementation of a Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order, directing it to make public information related to the appointment of three judges to the apex court while superseding other senior judges.
A bench, headed by Justice B. Sudershan Reddy, issued a stay order on the court’s appeal challenging the country’s transparency watchdog’s direction.
The bench also stayed another CIC order directing the disclosure of communication between the CJI and Justice R. Raghupathy of Madras High Court on the alleged interference by a Union minister in a pending case.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati mentioned the apex court’s appeal before the bench and requested it to fix an early date for hearing.
The bench also issued notice to RTI applicant S.C. Aggrawal on whose plea the CIC had passed the direction.
The bench directed Aggrawal to reply within three weeks and granted another two weeks to the court for filing its rejoinder.
Persistent requests by Aggrawal’s lawyer Prashant Bhushan not to stay the implementation of information panel’s order bore no consequences.
Bhushan urged the court from restraining to pass such an order, as it would send out negative signals to the public about the judiciary.
The court had on December 1 moved before itself a petition challenging both the CIC orders.
This is the second battle between the apex court and the CIC on the question of whether the CJI’s office comes under the purview of the RTI Act.
In an earlier judgment, the CIC had held that CJI’s office was bound to reply to an RTI applicant. The Delhi HC had dismissed the court’s plea against the CIC order. The apex court has, however, filed an appeal before a bench of two judges.