CIC pulls up the High Court for failure to follow the law
Complaints was filed complaints against certain high courts under section 18 of the RTI Act that the websites of the Public Authority do not carry suo motu declarations as mandated under section of Sec 4(1) (b) of the RTI Act. The High Courts named were - High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Gauhati High Court, High Court of Gujarat, High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand High court, Rajasthan High Court, High Court of Judicature, Allahabad, Madras High Court, High Court of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh, High Court of Sikkim.
The complainant referred to the Supreme Court of India in the case of Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr. Vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors. where it has been observed that the right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under clause (b) of section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption.
View of the CIC
The Commission heard the representative of the High Court of Gauhati who presented a compilation of their mandatory disclosures u/s 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act and took them on record. While appreciating the High Court of Gauhati for their elaborate and meaningful disclosures, the Commission wondered why the other High Courts cannot do the same. Under section 25 (5) of the RTI Act, the Commission recommended to all other High Courts whose names are listed as respondents in the present case to disclose all the information as per the provisions Section 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act within 3 months of the passing of the order.
The High Courts are looked upon as models for compliance of the laws of the land. If they do not enforce a law more than six years after the coming in force of an Act of the Parliament, the people of the country would lose faith in the law. The RTI Act requires pro-active disclosure not merely by the High Court but also by all the public authorities. The disclosure by the Gauhati High Court is worth emulating by all public authorities.
Shri C.J. Karira and Shri Mani Ram Sharma v. High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Gauhati High Court, High Court of Gujarat, High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand High court, Rajasthan High Court, High Court of Judicature, Allahabad, Madras High Court, High Court of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh, High Court of Sikkim in Case No. CIC/WB/C/2010/900031, CIC/WB/C/2010/900032SM, CIC/SM/C/2011/900894, CIC/SM/C/2011/901291, CIC/SM/C/2011/901292, CIC/SM/C/2011/901294, CIC/SM/C/2011/901296, CIC/SM/C/2011/901297, CIC/SM/C/2011/901298, CIC/SM/C/2011/901301 & CIC/WB/C/2010/000575SM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/24
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission