The Government does not want people to know their judges. The Ministry of Law and Justice has said the Right To Information Act does not cover Supreme Court and High Court judges.
“Constitutional authorities like the President, Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court judges, Chief Justices of High Courts and other judges of the High Courts are outside the purview of the Right to Information Act,” the ministry has told Delhi High Court.”
The Act itself doesn’t exempt constitutional bodies. (See accompanying box for those exempted).
The Delhi High Court is hearing a Law Ministry petition challenging the Central Information Commission’s order demanding from the ministry access to files related to the transfer of High Court judges between 2005-07.
The ministry’s stand on RTI for judges comes at a time when the judiciary itself appears keen to become more accountable. Chief justice K. G. Balakrishnan wrote recently to Chief Justices of all High Courts asking them to make judges declare their assets.
When contacted, the Law Ministry refused to give reasons for its decision.
Its decision is in sharp contrast to the stand taken by the Parliamentary committee on Law, Justice and Personnel in a report it gave Parliament in May: “Except the judicial decision making, all other activities of administration and persons included in the judiciary are subject to RTI Act.”