Kerala HC stays SIC order on disclosure of AG’s advice
On an appeal by P Ashraf, Information Commissioner MN Gunavardhanan of Kerala State Information Commission (SIC) had ruled that the copy of the advice given by the AG on the state government’s decision to move the Supreme Court in connection with the custodial death is liable for disclosure.
The order by the Kerala State Information Commission (SIC) directing the Advocate General’s (AG) office to provide a copy of the advice given by the AG to the state government in connection with the custodial death of Sampath has been stayed by Justice P R Ramachandra Menon of the Kerala High Court.
The Kerala High Court was hearing a petition filed by the AG’s office and others, challenging the order of the Kerala SIC wherein it was argued that the relationship between the AG and the state is one between a lawyer and a client which is fiduciary in nature. It was submitted that such information is not liable to be disclosed under RTI as it held under confidence and trust. It was pleaded that the opinion given by the AG to the state is exempt under Section 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; of the RTI Act.