In a first, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to provide information in possession of the Chief Justice India (CJI) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, pertaining to a complaint of corruption against a serving high court judge.
This marks a shift in the Supreme Court’s position, which has so far maintained that any information held by the CJI in his personal capacity cannot be put in the public domain.
Attorney General of India G. E. Vahanvati, informed the Delhi High Court, that the apex court was ready to provide information under RTI on action taken by the CJI on a complaint filed against a serving judge of the Allahabad High Court.
Surprisingly, SC had only last week refused to accept the Central Information Comm-ission (CIC) ruling of July 16, which had asked it to furnish details of action taken on a complaint filed by 77 year-old Noida resident, P. K. Dalmia, and filed an appeal in the high court.
In his complaint to CJI K. G. Balakrishnan, Dalmia had alleged that a high court judge was part of a Rs 159 crore scam.
Supreme Court in its reply to Dalmia’s RTI application, replied : “Complaints against judges are not handled by the court registry. If it was sent to the CJI in his personal capacity, it is not entertained in the registry.”
The CIC rejected the court’s argument that the CJI and the court registry are two different entities.
Vahanvati, however, made it clear that the Supreme Court does not accept the CIC view that the court registry and the CJI cannot be defined as two separate entities. Petition was filed so that non filing could not be construed as an acceptance of the order in S.C. Aggarwal’s case, on which the CIC based its order, he said.
The apex court had earlier refused to accept the CIC ruling that information be given on whether the judges declare their assets or not.