Appointment of judges in the High Courts - SC had granted a stay on disclosure of such information – until a decision is arrived by the SC such disclosure would result in the contempt of Court - section 8(1)(b) applicable
1. In his RTI application, the Appellant had raised a large number of queries relating to the appointment of judges in the High Courts seeking a variety of information. The CPIO had not disclosed any such information with the observation that the information relating to the appointment of judges was the subject matter of judicial proceedings in SLP number 3285556 of 2009, now converted into civil appeals number 1004445 of 2010 and subjudice before the Supreme Court. She had also referred to the stay granted by the Supreme Court on the disclosure of such information in the case relating to Subhash Chandra Agrawal and had held that the disclosure of similar information in the present case would result in the contempt of Court. She had cited the provisions of section 8(1)(b) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in this regard. Not satisfied, the Appellant had preferred an appeal which the Appellate Authority had dismissed after upholding the order of the CPIO.
2. We have carefully considered the contents of the RTI request and the response of the CPIO. Nearly all the queries of the Appellant relate to the procedure followed in the appointment of judges to Superior Courts. Some of the queries are impressionistic in nature and do not amount to information within the meaning of section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act. For example, the query regarding the recommendation of persons related to present and former judges for appointment as judges of the High Courts is in the nature of seeking confirmation of an opinion which the CPIO cannot be expected to offer. The appointment of judges of the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts is
made by the President of India on the recommendation of the Collegium of Judges. The proceedings of the Collegium is the subject matter in the case of Subhash Chandra Agrawal. It is the disclosure of such information which has been stayed by the Supreme Court and the matter has not been finally disposed of yet. It is only after the Supreme Court finally disposes of this matter and sets down the law in this regard, it would be possible to decide whether such information should be disclosed or not. The Appellant has to wait for this.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Jagdev Singh, S/o. Late Shri S. Lachman Singh v. Supreme Court of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001767