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  1. If a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, then payment has to be sought under the RTI Rules. The question before the Supreme Court was which Guidelines/Rules will govern the prescription of fee for copies of answer sheets and their inspection. The Court held that while the ICSI is governed by the Companies Secretaries Act, 1980 and the Examination Committee formed under the statute prescribes a certain fee, the RTI Rules also lay down a fee structure for procurement of answer sheets. The Court held, “In our opinion, the existence of these two avenues is not mutually exclusive and it is up to the candidate to choose either of the routes. Thus, if a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information, then payment has to be sought under the Rules therein, however, if the information is sought under the Guidelines of the appellant, then the appellant is at liberty to charge the candidates as per its guidelines.” The decision was rendered by a Bench of Justices NV Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer, which made it clear that if there are other avenues to procure answer sheets, the applicant can choose which one to route her request through. The RTI Rules entitle a student to seek inspection and certified copies of their answer scripts. When this right is exercised, Rule 4 will govern the levy of the required charges. This Rule stipulates a fee of Rs. 2 for each page of the answer script. For inspection, no fee is prescribed for the first hour. For every subsequent hour of inspection, the fee is Rs. 5 per hour. The order came in an appeal filed by the Institute of Companies Secretaries of India (ICSI) against a decision of a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. The respondent, Advocate Paras Jain, had sought from ICSI certified copies of answer sheets and their inspection under RTI. He was charged a fee for the same as per Guideline No. 3 notified by the Statutory Council of the ICSI. As per the ICSI Guidelines, the fee for the supply of certified copies was Rs. 500 per answer sheet, and the charge for inspection was Rs. 450 per answer book. Download the decision here.15222_2014_Order_11-Apr-2019.pdf
  2. An information commission can not order for disclosure of Information in proceedings under section 18 Remedy for denial of request for information - real or presumed - lies under section 19 Section 18 and 19 are 2 seperate provisions, and can not be used alternatively for each other. SC Judgement on section 18.pdf
  3. On the basis of the replies received under the provisions of theRight to Information Act, 2005, the supreme court has decided that "it is averred that these authoritiesare of the unanimous opinion that black films should bebanned. Black filmed glasses help in commission of crime aswell as hiding the criminals even during vehicle checks at‘Naka’ points." Use of films or any other material upon the windscreen or the side windows is impermissible in law w.e.f 4th May, 2012. The hon'ble supreme court stated "we prohibit the use of black films of any VLT percentage or any other material upon the safety glasses, windscreens (front and rear) and side glasses of all vehicles throughout the country." The court passed the order on a plea seeking complete ban on use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VVIPs, alleging that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted windows. The petitioner, Avishek Goenka, had contended that he had 25 RTI query replies from various police stations to back his claim that many crimes, including sexual assault on women, were committed by offenders who used cars with tinted glasses to evade public gaze and conceal their identity. Another adverse aspect of use of black films is that even if they reflect tolerable VLT in the day time, still in the night it would clearly violate the prescribed VLT limit and would result in poor visibility, which again would be impermissible. We have created a detailed article on this issue along with the attached supreme court decision at our sister portal bighelpers.org here http://www.bighelpers.org/content/what-ban-dark-film-glassess-can-t-i-have-dark-film-permissible-limits-128/ Please join us in the discussion at our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rtiindia.org Thank You.
  4. Court upholds denial of information on IRS official Reported by newstrackindia.com on Nov 08, 2012 Court upholds denial of information on IRS official New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has upheld the decision of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) not to share information related to disciplinary proceedings initiated against an Indian Revenue Service officer. A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw Tuesday set aside orders of another judge and the Central Information Commission (CIC) that directed the UPSC to provide information related to the disciplinary proceedings initiated against a 1974 batch IRS officer G.S. Narang to RTI applicant R.K. Jain. The bench relied upon a Supreme Court verdict that held that "information on disciplinary proceeding against an officer is personal in nature and the RTI Act exempts the department from disclosure of such details". It also accepted the UPSC's argument that the commission could not conduct any disciplinary proceedings against the IRS officer but could only give its opinion to the central government.
  5. Advocate wages 18-year battle for Rs 9 refund from MTNL Reported by Sibu Thomas timesofindia.indiatimes.com on August 26, 2012 Advocate wages 18-year battle for Rs 9 refund from MTNL - The Times of India MUMBAI: In 1994, an advocate took on MTNLfor charging extra service tax on his telephone bill. The case slowly inched forward in the high court and then the Supreme Court, but he didn't give up. Eighteen years later, he got his due: an MTNL refund cheque for Rs 9 that he received earlier in August. "It was a matter of principle," said Sanjay Kothari, the proud recipient. "MTNL is a public body and if they wrongly charge consumers, they must refund it. Otherwise, it is a case of unjust enrichment." And Kothari is not done yet. He has filed a contempt petition over MTNL's failure to refund the extra tax to other customers as the Bombay high court had ordered in 2010. MTNL has to refund Rs 9 each to 1.8 lakh people An RTI application filed by Mumbai advocate Sanjay Kothari revealed that MTNL has to refund Rs 9 to about 1.8 lakh consumers. The amount works out to over Rs 16 lakh. His case against the public body goes back to the early 90s when Kothari read the fine print in his bill of Rs 340 and realized that he had been charged extra service tax. MTNL refused a refund, following which Kothari, who was represented by senior advocate Arif Bookwala and advocates Sanjay Udeshi and Mahesh Londhe, filed a writ petition in 1994 before the high court. MTNL said Kothari's actual bill was for Rs 380 and since he had paid a deposit of Rs 5,000 under the Own Your Telephone scheme, he was eligible for a rebate of Rs 40 in his bi-monthly bill for 20 years. The PSU stated it would consider his actual bill of Rs 380 when charging service tax, while Kothari argued that it should be calculated on his payable bill of Rs 340. Sixteen years later, the HC ruled in Kothari's favour, saying the service tax should have been charged only on the gross amount reflected in the telephone bill. MTNL moved the Supreme Court a year later, but their plea was dismissed last July on grounds of delay. Earlier this month, he finally got the cheque for Rs 9. "MTNL could have easily adjusted the amount in my current bill, but they chose to issue a cheque which costs money," said Kothari. "It seems they are not keen on paying the others. I am an advocate and could take the case to its logical conclusion, but what about the ordinary citizen?" Clearly, MTNL has not heard the last from him.
  6. how do i get details of a case pending in supreme court ?
  7. As reported at khabar.ibnlive.in.com on Aug 09, 2011 नई दिल्ली। सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने अपने एक ऐतिहासिक फैसले में साफ कर दिया है कि कोई भी परीक्षार्थी अपनी यूनिवर्सिटी, बोर्ड अथवा स्कूल से सूचना के अधिकार के तहत अपनी उत्तर पुस्तिका मांग सकता है। सुप्रीम कोर्ट का ये निर्णय प्रतियोगी अथवा भर्ती परीक्षाओं में भी लागू होगा और उनकी भी कॉपी आरटीआई एक्ट के तहत मांगी जा सकेंगी। कोर्ट के इस निर्णय को छात्रों के हित में उठे बड़े कदम के रूप में देखा जा रहा है। इससे परीक्षाओं में पारदर्शिता बढ़ेगी और छात्रों के अधिकारों की रक्षा होगी। गौरतलब है कि जुलाई में कोलकाता हाईकोर्ट ने एक मामले में फैसला सुनाया था कि छात्रों को आरटीआई एक्ट के तहत अपनी कॉपी मांगने का अधिकार है। इसके खिलाफ कई संस्थान सुप्रीम कोर्ट चले गए लेकिन सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने हाईकोर्ट के निर्णय को बरकरार रखते हुए उनकी याचिकाएं खारिज कर दीं। सुप्रीम कोर्ट के इस फैसले से उन छात्रों को राहत मिलेगी जिन्हें लगता है कि उन्होंने प्रश्नों के जवाब सही दिए थे लेकिन इसके बावजूद उन्हें पर्याप्त नंबर नहीं दिए गए। अब वे अपनी कॉपी मांगकर खुद देख सकते हैं कि उनकी कॉपी ठीक से चेक की गई है या नहीं।
  8. As reported in governancenow.com on 22 October 2010: GovernanceNow.com | SC SC’s no to info on judges’ medical bills Says the information is confidential and not in public interest The Supreme Court has refused to give information regarding the medical bill claims submitted by the judges citing that it was confidential information. Responding to the application filed by Delhi based RTI activist Gopal Prasad, the apex court informed him that “the information was confidential and exempted under section 8(1) (j) of the RTI act.” According to mentioned section of the RTI act, personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual is exempted from disclosure. Prasad had filed first appeal in the court. “Supreme Court judges are public servants and I have all the right to know how are they using public money,” said he. The court’s appellate authority, however, upheld the observations of the public information officer. “The nature of the claims shows that the information sought pertains to personal information, which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual,” ruled Sunil Thomas, appellate authority, Supreme Court. “Hence I concur with the reply of the CPIO which is already held. The appeal fails and is dismissed,” he added. The applicant plans to file a complaint in the central information commission. Interestingly, on 11th of this month, the Delhi high court has ruled that the information on official expenses incurred by a government officer was not personal. The court was hearing a case related to the alleged misuse of public funds by Chitra Narayanan, former Indian Ambassador to Turkey. "The information on the expenditure of the government money by a government official in an official capacity cannot be termed as personal information," the court ruled while dismissing the ministry of external affairs's appeal challenging an order of the central information commission.
  9. Furnish details of judges’ medical bills, CIC tells SC New Delhi, Aug 6, DHNS: Deccan Herald can be seen here : http://www.deccanherald.com/content/181978/furnish-details-judges-medical-bills.html The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Supreme Court registry and Law Ministry to provide three-year records of the medical expenses of all individual judges to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, within 15 days. Agrawal has sought information on all the medical expenses, incurred by judges both in and outside the country, which have been reimbursed by the apex court, as per the RTI Act. Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra also asked the authorities to furnish details of the available rules and guidelines about the appointment of retired SC judges as arbitrators, besides all the resolutions passed since 1997 at the meetings of judges, under the transparency law. The CIC rejected the plea of the SC as well as the Law Ministry that such details could not be provided as these were personal in nature and were not available with them. “We find it difficult to accept the contention of the respondents that such simple statistical information as the total expenses incurred on medical reimbursement for individual judges or the list of resolutions passed in the meetings of all judges should not be available in the SC,” it said. SEE THIS ALSO : http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/62288-sc-s-no-info-judges-medical-bills.html
  10. Hi, Not sure if this is the right area to post such a question. Please advise if not. I have filed a lawsuit against seller in Mumbai High Court for a property bought in 2010. I have reviewed the Case Status on Mumbai High Court's website. 2 case hearings have occured till now, waiting for a 3rd hearing. Can I file a RTI and get to know why the Case Hearing isn;t scheduled in this Civil lawsuit matter? Thanks, Napster
  11. Members might be aware that several High Courts in different States have framed RTI Rules which violate the basic structure/tenets of the RTI Act as well as are very cumbersome. Please see the RTI Rules and Fees for different High Courts: Courts RTI Rules and Fees - RTI Guide I have now lodged several Complaints with the CIC, under Sec 18 of the RTI Act, against various High Courts for: - The RTI Rules framed by them - No Suo-Motu disclosure under Sec 4 All Complaints are uploaded in the Directory section.
  12. SC stays HC order bringing private power distributing companies under RTI Act as reported by Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, 16 January 2010 NEW DELHI: In the midst of a raging debate as to whether there should be boundary limiting the right to information law, the Supreme Court on Friday came across an interesting question - should the RTI Act be extended to private power distribution companies which have taken over work from PSUs? The Supreme Court stayed a Orissa High Court order, which had upheld a Naveen Patnaik government order of the year 2006 bringing Reliance Power-owned power distribution companies - Southern Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Ltd (SOUTHCO), WESCO and NESCO - under the purview of the RTI Act. A Bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and M K Sharma stayed the HC order of December 9 last year after hearing advocate Suresh Tripathy, who appeared for the Reliance-owned companies. Tripathy argued that the RTI Act was applicable only to "public authority" the meaning of which was erroneously expanded by the government and agreed to by the HC to include the power distribution companies under the RTI Act. He said the Reliance companies had challenged the December 2005 decision of the Naveen Patnaik government to include the power distribution companies under the purview of the RTI Act. But, the HC dismissed the petitions without appreciating the fact that the private companies could not have been put on the same plank as a "public authority". SOUTHCO in its petition stated that the HC failed to appreciate the fact that the power distribution companies do not receive any funds from the government nor were they under state control. Expressing surprise at the HC's finding that the state government had "all pervasive control over the power distribution companies", the petitioner said it was a fact that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has discontinued the audit of the accounts of the petitioner as it was not substantially financed by the government. SC stays HC order bringing private power distributing companies under RTI Act - India - The Times of India
  13. RTI can't be used to question court orders, says SC AS reported by STAFF WRITER 20:30 HRS IST [PTI] New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The Right to Information Act cannot be used for questioning orders passed by courts, the Supreme Court today said and expressed its displeasure that such pleas are made under the transparency law. "There is no right to anybody to demand such informations. Such plea are perverse and not maintainable," a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan said. The orders passed by the lower courts cannot be questioned before any other forum and has to be challenged in the higher courts, the bench said noting that instead of choosing to appeal, the petitioners preferred to resort to RTI Act. "In the RTI application, the petitioner wanted to know why his legal submissions were not considered and what was the basis for the order. The petitioner wanted other sources of information... fullstory
  14. sidmis

    What the judges wanted to know

    What the judges wanted to know ? ? Published in The New Indian Express 18 Aug 2009 Right to information laws and rules are, in theory, subscribed to by all. Yet, we have made the point more than once in these columns that the spirit behind these laws is yet to be understood, let alone accepted, by those who are supposed to enforce it. In which context, we’d like to touch on various oral remarks made by the Supreme Court the other day while ordering a stay on a high court order which had directed the Government of Maharashtra to place before it the Pradhan Committee report which probed the way the official machinery handled the 26/11 terrorist assault on Mumbai. The government had declined to make the contents public and the HC acted on various public interest suits in this regard, as also on what is the current plan to counter terrorism. “What is the use of disclosing it to the public?” asked the SC bench, chaired by the chief justice. “It will only become a matter of discussion at many public forums. Will it be a good thing?” And much more in this vein, acknowledging the too-secret-and-sensitive-to-disclose argument of the state counsel. It is an interim order; the case is still on. We offer no comment on whether or not the report and allied information are better kept secret or not. But we do on the eminent judges’ queries on what use there would be in disclosing to the public and on it becoming ‘only a matter of discussion’. The justification of the right to know isn’t measured by the use that citizens put it to, or whether it just becomes an item for discussion or not. Citizens have a right to know what is done by the agency that says it has been acting on their behalf. Such a guaranteed right alters the very thinking behind such decisions and their efficacy. We do not have to justify this right by first giving empirical evidence that we need to know it and will also be using it in a satisfactory manner. The right to know is the rule; it is the exception that needs to be justified. ‘What use will it serve?’ is not a permissible answer, and courts are supposed to stand vigilant against those making this plea, whether on 26/11 or any other matter of state functioning which affects our lives. And we do not have to justify this. http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=What+the+judges+wanted+to+know&artid=GidJvdirpwM=&SectionID=RRQemgLywPI=&MainSectionID=RRQemgLywPI=&SectionName=XQcp6iFoWTvPHj2dDBzTNA==
  15. MY LORD, YOU ARE RICH! by Avijit Chatterjee in the TELEGRAPH July 15 , 2009 The government wants to bring in a law to make it mandatory for judges to declare their assets. Will it help root out corruption in the judiciary, asks Avijit Chatterjee The recent spate of judicial scandals and the growing clamour for probity in public life have prompted the Centre to frame a law to make it mandatory for judges to declare their assets. Union law minister Veerappa Moily has said that the government will soon bring legislation to make it mandatory for judges to disclose their assets. Such a law would put the judiciary on the same footing as bureaucrats and politicians. However, the judiciary is not too keen on the idea. Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan recently expressed his fears that judges would be subjected to “vexatious litigations and harassment” if their assets were made public. At present, judges voluntarily declare their assets when taking their oath and the information is kept with the respective high court or the Supreme Court. The CJI has so far refused to place these declarations in the public domain, insisting that a law be enacted first to prevent the misuse of such information. Prashant Bhushan, senior Supreme Court lawyer and convenor, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform, however, scoffs at the idea that judges will be unduly harassed if people have access to information regarding their assets. “There is no legitimate reason for such fear unless they have something to hide. It only shows that the judges don’t want to declare their assets,” he says. Bhushan adds that since they are public servants, judges should declare their assets to the public and not to the government. “Moreover, judges should not get away with a one-time declaration. They need to file their statements annually,” he says. In January this year the Central Information Commission directed the Supreme Court to disclose information to one S.C. Agarwal, who had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, on whether or not Supreme Court judges declare their assets to the Chief Justice as required by their Code of Conduct. But in its petition filed before the Delhi High Court, the apex court said, “The Code of Conduct is informal and purely voluntary and there is nothing under the Constitution or any law which requires the judges to declare their assets to the CJI.” The Code of Conduct, passed in a full court meeting in May, 1997, and chaired by then Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, requires judges to declare to the Chief Justice their assets, including property or any other investment in the name of their spouse and dependents, if any. This was reiterated in 1999 at a conference of the chief justices. “However, this rule is followed more in its breach than in practice as only a handful of judges declare their assets,” says former Supreme Court judge V. Krishna Iyer. Former Union law minister and senior Supreme Court lawyer Shanti Bhushan says it is inexplicable that the judges of the Supreme Court are unwilling to declare their assets, particularly when they had directed candidates contesting elections to publicly declare their assets. “Should people not have the right to know the antecedents of judges who decide their fate every day,” he asks. Though India is yet to frame a law that requires judges to declare their assets, many countries in the West do have such laws. For example, in the US, under the Ethics in Government Act, 1978, judges of the US Supreme Court and all other judicial officers are required to disclose their assets and income every year. In the UK judges declare their assets to the Lord Chancellor’s department when taking their oath. But the information is protected under the Data Protection Act. “These personal details are not revealed to the public. In fact, there would be a huge uproar if such a demand is ever made,” says barrister and senior counsel Vijay S.T. Shankardass. The demand for the declaration of judges’ assets gathered momentum in India after a series of scams involving the judiciary erupted last year. It started with the Justice Sabharwal case where former CJI Y.K. Sabharwal was charged by the Central Vigilance Commision in January 2008 with misusing his official position to promote the business interests of his sons. Though the Supreme Court refused to order any inquiry against Justice Sabharwal, the government belatedly started a probe after receiving petitions from eminent citizens. The Ghaziabad provident fund scam dented the image of the judiciary further. In July 2008 the Uttar Pradesh police disclosed evidence on the alleged involvement of 34 judges in the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 23 crore from the provident fund of class III and IV employees in the Ghaziabad judiciary. Those accused included one Supreme Court judge, eight judges of the Allahabad High Court, one each from the Uttarakhand and Calcutta High Courts and 23 lower court judges. The matter was referred to the CBI after the UP police expressed its inability to investigate high court judges in various states. Another instance of corruption in the judiciary came to light in August, 2008 when a clerk of a senior Haryana law officer allegedly delivered Rs 15 lakh at the residence of Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Nirmaljit Singh Kaur. Later, it turned out that the money was meant for another judge, Nirmal Yadav, of the same court. Justice Yadav was recently given a clean chit by the attorney general of India. In yet another sensational development, CJI Balakrishnan recommended the removal of Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court after he was allegedly found to have indulged in financial misconduct prior to his elevation as a judge in December, 2003. In a lawsuit between Steel Authority of India Ltd and Shipping Corporation of India, Sen is said to have received Rs 32 lakh in his capacity as the court appointed receiver and deposited the amount in his personal account. The government has constituted a three- member panel for Justice Sen’s impeachment. Experts point out that given the extent of corruption in the judiciary, a mandatory declaration of assets alone may not be enough. “All these cases indicate a deep-rooted malaise in the judiciary which has enabled corrupt judges to function with impunity. The need of the hour is to set up an independent National Judicial Commission empowered to examine complaints against judges and take action against them,” says former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant. Krishna Iyer feels an appointment commission, rather than the present system of a collegium of sitting judges choosing new judges, would make the selection of judges transparent. The commission should verify information relating to antecedents, family background, assets and business relations of the judges before their appointment, he adds. That said, a law to ensure that judges declare their assets would be an encouraging start to efforts to clean up the judiciary. But will the government fly in the face of judicial disapproval and force the judges to divulge information about their assets? Time, as they say, will tell. The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Opinion | My Lord, you are rich!
  16. In a landmark order, a full bench of the CIC has allowed the disclosure of State Government Views and Recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium regarding appointment of High Court Judges. Interesting points to note: Date of Hearing: 12.12.2008 Date of Order: 11.02.2009 1. Applicant applied for following information on 1/11/2006 to the CPIO of Ministry of Law and Justice in rlation to appointment of Judges in the Guwahati High Court: - Opinion given by two judges (identified by name) of the Supreme Court - Views expressed by State of Nagaland - Recommendation made by Supreme Court Collegium to the Government 2. Applicant also took the precaution of asking the PIO of the Supreme Court as to who would be the custodian of this information and was directed to the Ministry. 3. CPIO denied the information under Sec 11 (third party information) and Sec 8(1)(e) - information submitted in a fiduciary relationship. FAA agreed with the CPIO's decision. 4. Second Appeal first heard in September 2007 and the matter had to be postponed since a similar matter had been granted stay by the Delhi High Court. 5. Applicant once again approached the CIC in May 2008 contending that matters related to his Second Appeal had been conclusively decided in another matter by the CIC recently. (This pertains to disclosure of information on Justice Virender jain - S C Agarwal v/s Presidents Secretariat, Dept. Of Justice). Please see: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/815-jain-case-disclose-file-rules-central-information-commission.html and http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_23032007_01.pdf . He also requested for a constitution of a larger bench. 6. CIC decided that the pendancy of a Writ Petition involving different parties in the HC was not a bar on the CIC to hear this particular matter. CIC has allowed the disclosure of the last tow items (views of the Govt. of Nagaland and recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium) but has agreed to the Sec 11 clause in case of opinion of the two SC Judges. Although there is no specific order regarding the CPIO having to invoke Sec 11 and getting Third Party consent, I think the CPIO is obligated to do that now. The full order is attached to this post. FB-11022009-01.pdf
  17. In the following order, CIC has refused to accept the date on the envelope (postal stamp) as the correct date but has instead relied on the date in the despatch register, thereby not levying penalty on the PIO of the Supreme Court. http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/WB-05122008-04.pdf While we are not inclined to take serious note of the mistakes in calendar dates cited by appellant Shri Mohan K. Gawada in his second appeal, ascribing these to clerical errors on his part, it stands established that there is no evidence that the envelop cited and dispatched from the office of Supreme Court of India by Shri S. Chatterjee on 22.1.’07 refer to the application of 28.7.06 to which the response is dated 22.8.06. Under every principle of law, we are required to accept the date on the register unless it is established that this is incorrect, which in this case it has not so been. Nevertheless CPIO was asked whether he has examined the dispatch register to establish whether any letter was in fact dispatched on 22.8.06, he affirmed that there was infact a letter dispatched on that date addressed to appellant Shri Mohan K. Gawada by Shri S. Chatterjee, a fact that can be checked with the dispatch register. However, he would not venture to confirm whether that letter directly relates to the application in the present appeal.
  18. An article by Manoj Mitta in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 09 November 2008: Your Honour, time to end Your Lordship?-Deep Focus-Sunday TOI-Opinion-The Times of India Your Honour, time to end Your Lordship? If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. This universally recognised HR principle applies to judges as well. Or so it seems from the case made by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan for at least a three-fold hike in the salaries of judges, in the wake of the sixth pay commission’s bonanza for their counterparts in the executive. Nobody can quarrel with the proposition that better emoluments would help the bench attract better talent from the bar. And make the existing judges less vulnerable to the temptation, for instance, of wangling consumer goods as one from the Supreme Court and several from high courts are alleged to have done in the Ghaziabad provident fund scam. Much as judges are justified in seeking higher salaries, consumers of justice, in turn, are entitled to demand a better service from them. For all the good they do in checking executive wrongs and resolving disputes, Indian judges still betray a paternalistic mindset which is out of tune with the temper of the times. Few have come to terms with the humbling fact that, rather than being regarded as benevolent divinities, they are increasingly assessed in terms of a service provider. Weary of the deficient service they routinely get from courts (such as delays and inconsistencies), litigants are growing impatient with the haughty air cultivated by judges under the guise of protecting their independence. The tension between the recalcitrant service provider and the aggrieved consumer is evident from the manner in which the judiciary has been resisting reforms, howsoever overdue. Here’s a wish list of reforms which the judiciary has been called upon to adopt in recent years in order to become a better service provider. Replace excessive reverence in courts with a business-like work culture Two years ago, the bar council of India, the regulatory body for lawyers, adopted a resolution asking them to give up the colonial practice of addressing judges as “My Lord” or “Your Lordship”. It said that Supreme Court and high court judges could instead be addressed as “Your Honour” or “Honourable Court” and subordinate court judges as “Sir”. Though the then CJI, Y K Sabharwal, welcomed the proposal (at least for the record), there is yet no sign of the change which could well have helped judges assume the outlook of a service provider. Lawyers have been loathe to implement the bar council’s resolution lest they be misconstrued as being disrespectful to judges. Mercifully, some of the judges have taken the initiative to get rid of the anachronism of excessive reverence. Two members of that miniscule minority, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi high court, actually put out a request in the daily “cause list” (roster of cases heard by them) requesting lawyers not to address him as lords. Justice K Chandru of the Madras high court said it to the face of lawyers to stop speaking in a fawning manner. “Make your ‘humble submissions’ before God; before me it is enough if you make simple submissions,” he told a lawyer. Be more transparent The judiciary has long been notorious for its secrecy about how it appoints judges and how it disciplines the delinquent ones, if at all. Not surprisingly, judges have reacted to RTI — enacted in 2005 — as though it was an assault on their autonomy. On an RTI query, the Supreme Court, for instance, refused to disclose whether its judges have been, in keeping with its own resolution passed in 1997, periodically filing declarations of their assets. Having first claimed that his office fell outside the scope of RTI, Justice Balakrishnan floated the theory that none of the constitution office holders could be held to account under that law. While RTI exempts the applicant from giving any reasons, the Delhi high court framed a rule stating that only an affected party can seek information. Though RTI specifies the 10 categories of information exempt from disclosure, the high court added another category under its rules, stating in effect that any information that was not already in public domain would be withheld. Follow ‘case flow management’ rules laid down by Supreme Court On the recommendations made by an expert committee set by it, the apex court in 2005 came up with a slew of measures to quicken the process of dispute resolution. The promise made by the judiciary to mend its ways has, however, turned out to be as illusory as those made by politicians at the time of elections. Take the measure requiring high courts to divide writ petitions into three categories depending on their urgency: fast track, normal track and slow track. It fixed deadlines for each category: the petitions on the fast track were meant to be disposed of within six months, those on the normal track within a year and the remaining within two years. This elaborate exercise has yielded little benefit to consumers of justice. For, even three years after the Supreme Court fixed those time limits, none of the high courts is abiding by them. Nor has the Supreme Court set an example to high courts in timely disposal of cases. Cut down on vacations In the name of reducing arrears in the Supreme Court, the government introduced a Bill this year to increase the strength of its judges from 25 to 30. The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice recommended that the court should also do away with lengthy vacations to boost its productivity. This is despite an incremental reform made by the apex court in 2006 following a public appeal made by the then President, Abdul Kalam, to cut down on holidays. It reduced its summer vacation from eight weeks to seven weeks. That there is still ample scope to increase its working days is evident from the fact that the Supreme Court reopened last week after an eight-day Diwali break. Before that, in the same month of October, it had another eight-day vacation and that was for Dussehra. It will next shut for Christmas for two weeks. The excuses cited for such a generous vacation policy are that judges are otherwise overworked and that they need to take time off to catch up with legal developments around the world. Litigants, however, find it incongruous that while courts frequently break for long vacations, they are being made to wait for years to get their due. It’s time the judiciary learnt lessons from other service providers and stopped taking its consumers for granted.
  19. Can't act against retired judges: Govt as reported by Himanshi Dhawan 28 Oct 2008, Times of India NEW DELHI: At a time when the issue of judicial accountability is gaining ground, the government has admitted that it exercises no control over action against retired judges of the high courts and the SC. In a RTI query, the justice department has disclosed that it has no competence to take action against retired judges/chief justices of SC and HCs on allegations or charges levelled against them. However, the protection under the Constitution is not applicable in cases where SC or HC judge demits office instead of retiring. Appellant Subhash Chandra Agarwal had submitted an RTI query asking if the government has the Constitutional competence to take action against retired judges and if yes, then information relating to these inquiries. He had also asked for details of complaints against judges lodged with the CVC and the CBI. The query was rejected by the CPIO on flimsy grounds but was later admitted. CPIO K Gurtu said that the government did not have the competence to take action against retired judges/chief justices of SC and HCs. This was reiterated by appellate authority after Agarwal pointed out that CBI had taken action against former Delhi HC judge Shamit Mukherjee. In his reply, the appellant authority joint secretary Ramesh Abhishek has said that the Constitution provides that no judge of the SC or HC can be removed from office except by order of the President passed by an address of each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. The Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, lays down the procedure for presentation of an address and for probe and proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge. However, in Mukherjee's case, the judge had resigned from office and so the Constitutional provision was no longer applicable allowing the CBI to take action against him. Can't act against retired judges: Govt-India-The Times of India
  20. Babus` file notings have no legal sanction: SC Bureau Report, As reported in ZeeNews New Delhi, Oct 20: The Supreme Court has ruled that file notings by babus do not confer any vested right on a person and do not have the sanction of law. "It is trite to state that notings in a departmental file do not have the sanction of law to be an effective order. A noting by an officer is an expression of his viewpoint on the subject," a bench of Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain observed. According to the apex court, internal notings like file notings are not meant for public circulation. "It is no more than an opinion by an officer for internal use and consideration of the other officials of the department and for the benefit of the final decision-making authority," the bench said while dismissing appeals filed by two petrol pump owners. The two petrol pumps M/s Sethi Auto Service Station and M/s Anand Service Station had challenged the refusal of the DDA authorities to allot them land for shifting to an alternative site. The appellant firms - own two petrol outlets adjacent to each other, located at NH-8, Mahipalpur, New Delhi since 1994. The contention of the owners was that the construction of an eight-lane express highway between Delhi and Gurgaon, including construction of a flyover/grid separator at Mahipalpur crossing, made the petrol pumps inaccessible. They had sought compensation by citing the recommendations made in file notings by the technical committee, supporting their claim for alternative site. But finally the recommendations were rejected by the DDA vice chairman on the grounds that the revised policy did not provide for any such provision. Aggrieved, the owners approached the Delhi High Court which rejected their plea following which they appealed in the apex court. Upholding the DDA's plea, the apex court observed "Needless to add that internal notings are not meant for outside exposure. Notings in the file culminate into an executable order, affecting the rights of the parties, only when it reaches the final decision-making authority in the department; gets his approval and the final order is communicated to the person concerned," the apex court. The bench recalled the apex court's earlier ruling in the Bachhittar Singh Vs State of Punjab case where a Constitution Bench considered the effect of an order passed by a Minister on a file but was not communicated to the person concerned. In that case the apex court ruled that merely because the minister had made certain notings in the file it does not give an inherent right to the person to claim a benefit. In the instant case, the apex court said that since the revised DDA policy did not provide for giving land to establishments which are not directly affected by a project the owners cannot claim any right to alternative land. Bureau Report Zee News - Babus` file notings have no legal sanction: SC
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