Delhi HC passes stricture against Information Commissioner, Shri Shailesh Gandhi
The Delhi High Court has passed a stricture against the Information Commissioner at the Central Information Commission, Shri Shailesh Gandhi, in a case.
Hearing a petition by the CPIO of the Registrar of Companies in W.P.(C) 11271/2009, Justice Vipin Sanghi has held as under “… the Central Information Commissioner Mr.Shailesh Gandhi has also demonstrated complete lack of judicial discipline while rendering the impugned decisions. By no stretch of imagination, it cannot be said that the earlier decisions were not on the point. Particularly, the decision rendered by Sh. A.N. Tiwari in F. CIC/T/A/2007/0012 dated 12.04.2007 directly deals with the very same issue, and is an exhaustive, and detailed and considered decision. If the Central Information Commissioner Sh. Shailesh Gandhi had a different view in the matter – which he was entitled to hold, judicial discipline demanded that he should have recorded his disagreement with the view of Sh. A.N. Tiwari, Central Information Commissioner, and, for reasons to be recorded by him, required the constitution of a larger bench to re-examine the issue. He could not have ridden rough shot over the earlier decisions of Sh. A.N. Tiwari and Prof. M.M. Ansari, particularly when he was sitting singly to consider the same issue of law….”
The High Court set aside the order passed by Shri Gandhi while making the above observations. The case related to disclosure of information about a company which the CPIO of the Registrar of Companies had declined to disclose. The bench of CIC headed by Shri Gandhi had directed to disclose the information under the RTI Act while issuing a show cause to the CPIO for imposing penalty. In similar cases, other benches of CIC had earlier held that a person should apply for information as per the procedure prescribed under the Companies Act. The language of the HC order indicates that Shri Gandhi was not heard before the decision was delivered by the HC.
In an interview a couple of days back, Shri Shailesh Gandhi, had included the threat from the judicial system as one of the three major threats to the Right to Information (RTI) Act. An alumnus of IIT Bombay, Mr. Gandhi ran a plastic packaging firm before turning into a RTI activist. Subsequently, he was appointed in the CIC as Information Commissioner and is due to retire on 6th July, 2012.