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Atul Patankar

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Atul Patankar

As reported by CJ SUbhash Chandra Agarwal at merinews.com


THE CHIEF Justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah deserves compliments for his welcome initiative to rectify the wrong, by reviewing RTI rules at Delhi High Court which contradict the Right-To-Information Act as passed by the Parliament and given assent by the President of India. It is regrettable that the then competent authority at Delhi High Court allowed such rules which could even be tantamount to contempt of Parliament.


Administrative action is needed against those responsible for framing such rules at Delhi High Court which deprived users of the RTI Act from seeking information from Delhi High Court.


Observations by Justice AP Shah pleading for replacing the oath of secrecy into an oath of transparency making the judicial system accountable and transparent are worth appreciating. It is regretted that a judge with such noble thoughts could not be elevated to the Apex Court despite intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office. He has rightly observed the highlights of RTI Act in a judicial system like a check towards filing of false affidavits


Source : Delhi HC reviewing RTI rules

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As reported by Abhinav Garg of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 14 December 2008:

HC will review its rules for RTI pleas-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India


HC will review its rules for RTI pleas


NEW DELHI: The chief justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah on Saturday admitted that some of the rules framed by it under RTI run contrary to the

parent Act.


Sitting next to chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, justice Shah announced that such rules were already being reviewed and they might soon be amended or deleted.


"A judge's committee is reviewing the RTI rules of high court. Those provisions which don't align with RTI Act will be removed,'' justice Shah promised while addressing the International Conference of Jurists on Terrorism, Rule of Law and Human Rights at Vigyan Bhavan in the Capital. He was speaking on "Role of RTI in promoting rule of law.''


HC's rules on information sharing have repeatedly held to be "in direct conflict with RTI Act'' by the Central Information Commission in its rulings and has come under severe criticism by RTI activists too.


While clause 4(IV) of HC's special RTI rules permit the court to allow access of information only to "affected persons'' and deny to those who don't explain why such an information is required, section 5 (A) exempts it from revealing any information which is not in the public domain.


The CIC has taken a dim view of both these sections as also HC's decision to charge Rs 500 for an RTI form instead of Rs 10 as mandated by the law. Even after the price has been scaled down to Rs 50 per form, it is still five times higher than what the Act has fixed.


On Saturday, justice Shah signalled he wasn't wedded to precedent when it came to opening up his courts under the RTI. "Dissemination of information must be totally open. Instead of an oath of secrecy we must take an oath of transparency,'' he remarked, saying he was committed towards making HC and subordinate courts in the Capital "completely transparent.''


He underscored the need for transparency saying that with the judiciary acquiring greater powers and the resultant clout it was all the more important that it should be made accountable under the RTI Act. "More transparency is needed in the judiciary,'' the chief justice opined, conceding that ever since the RTI has come into effect even his judicial work has become more robust. He revealed how authorities now refrain from filing false affidavits in courts because the opposite party can easily file an RTI in the concerned department and get the correct information. "We receive a barrage of RTI requests everyday, perhaps we need to depute more staff,'' justice Shah added.


On his part chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah hoped HC would take CIC's recommendations seriously and remove the sections in conflict with the RTI Act. He agreed with justice Shah that staff crunch hindered speedy furnishing of information as public information officers (PIOs) dealing with RTI applications were either overloaded with work or not trained to handle the responsibilities given. One way of easing the flood of RTI requests, Habibullah said, would be that every organization lists out its particulars and administrative information on its own, so that an applicant do not have to resort to an RTI to seek it.

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As reported by PTI in ptinews.com on 8 February 2010:



Delhi HC set to change its contradictory RTI Rules


New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has decided to consider changes in its RTI rules to bring it in conformity with the Right to Information Act.


The Court's move comes after an RTI activist contended that the provisions were inconsistent with the stipulations of the RTI Act.


"The amendments (suggested) are likely to be taken by the Hon'ble Full Court in due course. The process of amendments does take some time," a communication from the office of Registrar General to RTI activist Anoop Prakash said.


Anoop, a fellow at Centre for Civil Society, an NGO, had suggested for inclusion of penal provision in the RTI Rules for taking action on denial of information under its transparency law.


The activist had pointed out that the penal provision was deleted in May, 2007.

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