Nearly two weeks after Delhi High Court ruled that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) was covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Supreme Court officials are yet to decide how and where they intend to challenge the judgment.
“Right now we are preparing a draft containing our comments on the high court judgment. It will be decided later whether to file an appeal in the high court or in the Supreme Court,” said a source in the Supreme Court.
“No deadline can be put at this point in time on when and where would the appeal be filed.”
Supreme Court officials had made it clear soon after the judgment was pronounced that they were not inclined to accept the HC ruling and would challenge it.
Justice S. Ravindra Bhat of the Delhi High Court had created legal history on September 2, when he became the first HC judge to decide a case involving the Supreme Court.
“The CJI is a public authority under the RTI Act and he holds the information pertaining to asset declarations in his capacity as Chief Justice. CJI’s office is covered under the provisions of the Act,” Justice Bhat had said in his 72-page judgment.
He rejected the Supreme Court argument that the information on judges assets provided to the CJI was “confidential”, which could not be revealed. “The CJI does not hold such declarations in a fiduciary capacity or relationship.”
The historic judgment came on an appeal filed by the Supreme Court against a Central Information Commission (CIC) order on January 6 this year, asking it to provide information in possession of the CJI.
RTI Activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal had approached the CIC after the Supreme Court registry had refused to provide him information on whether the judges declare their assets to the CJI.