The controversial decision to exempt CBI from the purview of RTI Act has come under legal challenge in the Madras high court which issued a notice on Friday to the union government on a PIL in this regard.
A bench comprising chief justice M Y Eqbal and justice T S Sivagnanam directed additional solicitor general M Ravindran, who took the notice on behalf of the union government, to get instructions from it within three weeks on the PIL seeking to declare the recent notification as ultra vires of the Constitution.
Petitioner S Vijayalakshmi, an RTI activist, challenged the centre's June 9 notification exempting the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) from the Central Act 22 of 2005 (Right To Information Act).
However, the court declined to grant a stay on the notification as sought by the petitioner and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks. The notification has come in for widespread condemnation from some civil society representatives.
The country's first Chief Information Commissioner(CIC) Wajahat Habibullah has also criticised it.
The petitioner contended that since the expose of Commonwealth Games, 2G allocation and other scams and the Lokpal movement, the centre had become "jittery and rudderless" in the war on corruption. The centre had "maliciously" decided to conceal its "wrongdoings" by taking recourse to section 24 of the RTI Act and cloaked the CBI by granting it blanket exemption from the RTI, the petitioner charged.