The office of the Attorney General for India (AGI) is a public authority falling under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Delhi high court held on Tuesday.
In a ruling that would make the office of the top law officer answerable to public, the HC said AGI was a constitutional functionary and its role was not limited to merely acting as a “lawyer for the government of India”.
Under the RTI Act, any government office or authority or any organisation substantially funded by government would come under the purview of the transparency law.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru also refused to accept the government’s contention that nature of information or advice rendered by the AGI was “privileged” and not amenable to disclosure under the RTI Act.
“Merely because the bulk of the duties of the AGI are advisory, the same would not render the office of the AGI any less authoritative than other constitutional functionaries,” Bakhru said.
The HC also refused to consider the government’s argument that there was practical difficulty in providing information under the Act as the office of the AGI did not have the requisite infrastructure, saying, “This cannot be considered as a reason for excluding the applicability of the Act on a public authority.”
The office of AGI can refuse to disclose all such information or data which falls under the Section 8 of the RTI Act, the HC ruled.