Govt to seek review of SC order on judges as CICs
The government is set to seek a review from the Supreme Court of its September 13 verdict, which ordered that judges be appointed as chiefs of central and state information commissions. Nagendar Sharma reports.delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2012 00:14 IST
The government is set to seek a review from the Supreme Court of its September 13 verdict, which ordered that judges be appointed as chiefs of central and state information commissions.
The decision is based on the opinion given by the government's top law officer, Attorney General GE Vahanvati, whose view has been endorsed by the law ministry.
The matter was referred to Vahanvati after the department of personnel and training had raised questions about the judgment that held the potential to change the face of RTI law.
The SC had ruled that the transparency watchdogs were "judicial tribunals" and the job would be "better performed" by a legally qualified mind.
The top court had directed the government to make changes in the relevant sections of the RTI Act, 2005, dealing with the appointment of Chief Information Commissioners at the central and state levels.
"Chief Information Commissioner at the centre or state level shall only be a person who is or has been a Chief Justice of the High Court or a Judge of the Supreme Court of India," the top court stated in its verdict.
The two-judge bench had also stated it was of the "considered view" that serving or retired HC judges should be given preference for appointment as information commissioners.
Vahanavti, who refrained from commenting on the verdict, has pointed out that the new arrangement proposed by the SC could disturb the functioning of information panels, and therefore government should file a plea seeking a review of its judgment.
Officials dealing with the matter stated that judiciary was kept out of the information panels, which decide on RTI appeals, in order to keep the system simple, informal and quick.
“There are some errors in the judgment in our view... For example, in the RTI Act, the retirement age of information commissioners has been fixed at 65 years, how would a retired SC judge be eligible when they also retire at 65,” an official said.