Can the order passed by Supreme Court be questioned under RTI?
The appellant filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Supreme Court of India seeking the rationale and the basis for certain conclusions reached by the bench in a particular order it passed in the SLP No CC 11085/2011. The Public Information Officer (PIO) observed that it was beyond the scope of her duty to offer any interpretation or opinion on judicial pronouncements and that the queries did 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. Regarding the request of the appellant to inspect some judicial records, the PIO stated that the appellant was earlier allowed inspection of the desired records.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant alleged that the orders passed by the Supreme Court in his case were without any basis and that was the reason that he wanted to know the basis for several conclusions in that order. The respondent submitted that the order passed by the Supreme Court spoke for itself and it was beyond the jurisdiction and duty of the PIO to speculate about the basis on which the order might have been passed. The appellant further claimed that he had never been allowed to inspect the relevant judicial records. The respondent claimed that as per the information provided by the concerned division of the Supreme Court the appellant had indeed inspected the records.
View of CIC
The Commission held that it is not envisaged under the RTI Act that the PIO or anyone else should speculate or surmise why a particular decision was taken in any matter. The CIC added that under the RTI Act, the order passed by the Supreme Court could not be interrogated and there is no information which the PIO can provide. Regarding the issue as to whether the appellant was allowed the inspection of records, the Commission ruled this could be easily found out by looking at the available records in the concerned division of the Supreme Court. The CIC directed the PIO to provide to the appellant the photocopy of any available relevant record on which the fact of his inspection of these particular records would have been noted and in case no such record is presently available for any reason the PIO has to inform the appellant about those reasons.
Citation: Mr. R S Mishra v. Supreme Court of India in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000367 & 1166
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/817
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