CIC empowered to form benches and allocate work, says Supreme Court | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

CIC empowered to form benches and allocate work, says Supreme Court

Jul 10, 2024 11:31 AM IST

The appeal further contended that the high court’s judgment had severely disrupted the commission’s smooth functioning and ability to perform its statutory duties mandated by Parliament under RTI Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the chief information commissioner (CIC) has the authority to constitute benches of the transparency panel and divide work within the commission. This decision overruled the Delhi high court’s May 2010 judgment, which had asserted otherwise.

The CIC can also frame rules under the RTI Act for the commission’s management. (HT file photo)
The CIC can also frame rules under the RTI Act for the commission’s management. (HT file photo)

A bench of justices Vikram Nath and Satish Chandra Sharma found the high court’s judgment contrary to the objective and functioning of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, holding that the CIC does possess the authority to constitute benches.

“The CIC can also frame rules under the RTI Act for the commission’s management,” justice Nath read out from the operative part of the judgment.

In May 2010, the Delhi high court quashed the CIC (Management) Regulations, 2007, framed by the CIC, noting that the CIC did not have the power to constitute benches. In response, the CIC appealed to the Supreme Court to resolve the matter definitively, citing conflicting decisions from various high courts on whether the CIC could frame rules for the commission’s management under the RTI Act.

Also Read: Delhi HC sets aside order directing CBDT to provide info on Ram Temple trust

The CIC’s appeal highlighted that while the high courts of Patna, Bombay and Karnataka had upheld the regulations framed by state CICs for managing and hearing cases, the Delhi high court issued an opposite ruling.

The CIC contended that the power to manage the commission’s affairs, vested in the CIC, inherently included the power to allocate work to efficiently utilise the services of information commissioners. Any restriction on this power, particularly the ability to divide work among information commissioners, would seriously impede the commission’s functioning, argued the CIC.

The appeal further contended that the high court’s judgment had severely disrupted the commission’s smooth functioning and its ability to perform its statutory duties mandated by Parliament under the RTI Act.

The appeal stemmed from a judgment delivered by the Delhi High Court, which had ruled in favor of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The DDA had challenged the CIC’s authority to constitute Benches under the CIC Management Regulations of 2007, arguing that the CIC did not have the power to issue such regulations, making the constitution of Benches illegal. The DDA’s objections were based on the CIC’s directive to form an inquiry committee to examine the DDA’s rules and regulations.

The Delhi High Court had stated that Section 12(4) of the RTI Act does not grant the CIC the power to issue regulations. Consequently, the high court struck down the CIC Management Regulations, 2007, as ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the Act. The court further asserted that the CIC had no authority to delegate the task of conducting inquiries to other individuals.

The Supreme Court, however, clarified that Section 12(4) of the RTI Act, which pertains to the superintendence, direction, and management of the Central Information Commission’s affairs, does indeed grant the CIC the authority to make regulations necessary for the commission’s effective functioning.

The top court emphasised that the terms “superintendence, direction, and management” inherently include the power to manage internal affairs and allocate work among information commissioners, ensuring the commission can fulfill its statutory duties effectively.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court has restored clarity and confirmed the CIC’s authority to constitute benches and manage the commission’s work, facilitating the smooth functioning of the information commissions in accordance with the RTI Act.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, July 21, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On