SIC asks Gujarat High Court to furnish information on judges’ leaves
An application was filed with the Gujarat High Court under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the information about the leaves given to the High Court judges. The application sought to know about the rules under which judges are allowed leaves and how many leaves are allowed to the judges. It also sought to know the exact number of days for which the judges had actually gone on leave or were absent for hearing and the reasons for the same. The applicant was irked by the frequent absence of judges at the time of hearing of cases specially those related to poor tribals coming from distant areas.
The High Court, in its reply to the application, denied providing the requested information stating that anything, which is not already in the public domain, has been exempted from the RTI Act. Not satisfied with the reply, the applicant approached the State Information Commission (SIC). The Chief Information Commissioner of State Information Commission (SIC) of Gujarat held in the order that the High Court cannot act under its own RTI rules, especially when they contradict the RTI Act. He said that in case the two rules contradict each other, the RTI Act should be considered final. The SIC has asked that public information officer of the High Court to furnish the leave details of the judges to the appellant. Denial of information regarding any matter can be done only under Section 8 of the RTI Act.