03 September 2009

High Court states the law, let the SC obey

In a wonderful and rare event, the high court has shown enormous spinal righteousness in holding the correct law on right to information - that Supreme Court and other judges are not above the law and must respond to right to information (or freedom of information) requests. This was contrary to the hopeless argument of the Supreme Court judges that they were above the law. Their arguments starting with 'we are not public servants' but constitutional authorities and later expanded were severely criticised by one and all in the media. RTI Act, btw, does not apply to public servants but to public authority. The event is rare because a bench of the high court decided against the explicit arguments of the Supreme Court of the country.

This is a victory of governance and accountability over self interest. It would be a national shame if this ruling was appealed before the Supreme Court - even though the specific case of assets of judges is a gray area of RTI - as the Act itself gives an exemption based on privacy. But whether RTI Act applies to judges is a straight and simple - yes.

See here for some detailed commentary. And here for getting the full judgment (you will need to look for case No.W.P.(C) 288 of 2009). More after reading the 72 page ruling.

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