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Appoint people with judicial background to CIC: SC


akhilesh yadav

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This is very good argument put forth by Supreme Court. This place to rest the controversy the Judges are seeking re-employment. On the contrary the SC wants the Sycophants appointed by the Governments are the stooges of the state and the Information commissions are not able to deliver the justice owing to their biased (pro-government) views. Exceptions aside.

 

The Supreme Court today , in effect, brought out the true face of present set of people heading the Information Commissions and the Information Commissioners there under.

 

The Information Commissioner have lost face in the face of this comment of the Supreme Court.

 

Bravo!!!!

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akhilesh yadav

Aruna Roy & Shailesh Gandhi move SC for review of CIC verdict

Reported by PTI in business-standard.com on Nov 27, 2012

http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/aruna-royshailesh-gandhi-move-sc-for-reviewcic-verdict/84746/

 

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy today moved the Supreme Court, seeking a review of its verdict on appointment of people from judiciary in information panels.

They submitted that information commissions are not judicial tribunals and its members are not required to be judicially and legally trained.

"The judgement has the potential of seriously impairing the RTI Act. The commissions are not judicial tribunals as they are not administering justice, but are only providing access to information to make administration transparent. The work being done by them do not require them to be judicially and legally trained, but only expects that they be persons of intelligence, common sense and integrity," they said in an application to the court.

They said the apex court verdict is welcome on aspects of ushering transparency in appointments in info panels but the court should review other part of its order which said only sitting or retired chief justices of high courts or a Supreme Court judge can head the Central and state information commissions.

"It is true that under the present system, there is no transparency in the method of selection and several appointments have been made on arbitrary basis. Also, most of the ICs are from bureaucratic background which is not in line with the true spirit of the Act. Therefore, applicants welcome the directions of the Court in so far as it relates to transparency and filling up of vacancies.

"However, the direction that the Commission should work in benches where one of the Commissioner is a judicial member would create several problems that have the potential of defeating the objective of the Act itself," the application said. (More)

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Sajib Nandi

Reported by Hindustantimes.com on December 04, 2012

Directive on info panels to keep it independent: SC - Hindustan Times

 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said its directive for appointment of people from judicial background in information panels was with the aim to keep them "independent" and free from "political or other patronage".

 

The apex court also said the appointment of a person with judicial background is an "additional requirement" as that member in the panel would be consulted as an expert for protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens.

 

"In the tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies, appointments of members are made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India or Chief Justices of High Courts. This is done to maintain the independence of the panel and there is no political patronage or other patronage. It is also to protect the integrity of such bodies," a bench comprising justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar said.

 

"For everything can there be a political patronage," the bench said and added that otherwise people would not hesitate to come out with remarks like "apna admi lagaya hai (you have put your own people)".

 

It said appointment of people with judicial background would help in protecting the fundamental rights of right to privacy and freedom to practice any profession under Article 21 and 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution.

 

"We are harping on Article 21 and Article 19 (1)(g). The right to information has to be balanced with Article 21 and Article 19 (1)(g) and other rights," the bench said when advocate Manish Singhvi, appearing for Rajasthan Government, was arguing that right to information cannot be brought under the civil dispute requiring adjudication.

 

The counsel was making the submission that right to information was a fundamental right and there was no need of a member with judicial requirements as his role would be akin to an adjudicator.

 

The apex court said there was need to go into the depth of its September 13 judgement as it was concerned with the right of privacy under Article 21 and if that right is violated it can even strike down the Parliamentary Act.

 

"Instead of striking down, we want maintain the balance," the bench said and added that "we don't have to work with mental blockade".

 

The bench also agreed with the counsel that its directives were "pro tem measure till legislatures amend the law".

 

It described the transparency law as a "valuable Act" which was required and implemented through experienced hands.

 

"It is a valuable Act. We don't want to strike it. It is a very good Act. We need persons of experience for it," it said.

 

However, the bench complained that it was not getting the type of assistance it needed to raise the level of debate in dealing with the review petitions.

 

"We are not getting the type of assistance we need. Let us get the level of debate up which I have been saying since yesterday," the bench said.

 

The court had on Monday ticked off the Centre saying it may "throw out" its review plea against the verdict for appointment of people from judicial background in information panels for not answering its posers properly.

 

"You are not answering the court's questions. Either you answer the questions intellectually or if you argue this way, we will throw out your review petition," the bench had told additional solicitor general Amarjit Singh Chandiok, amid sharp exchanges between them.

 

During an earlier hearing, the court had said its verdict for appointment of people from judicial background in info panels was not aimed at rehabilitating judges but to make the panels independent of government's influence.

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RAVEENA_O

[h=1]‘Information chiefs should have judicial background’[/h] As reported in Deccan Herald : ‘Information chiefs should have judicial background’

 

NEW DELHI, Dec 6, 2012, DHNS:

 

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that independent persons with judicial background should be appointed as information commissioners instead of loyal bureaucrats amid the centre’s opposition to the recent apex court verdict saying that the court cannot direct legislature to amend a law.

 

“It would be good if independent person with legal background is appointed in the commission and not only the retired bureaucrats who are loyal to the government,” a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar said, adding that the Right to Information (RTI) Act needed to be “rectified”.

 

The court was hearing a review petition filed by the Union government against the verdict delivered on September 13 changing status of the Central Information Commission (CIC) as judicial panel directing it to function in a bench of two with one member having necessarily judicial background among other directions.

 

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for the centre, submitted that it was well-settled a principle of law that the legislature cannot be asked to amend a particular law.

 

The court had, in its judgment, passed a slew of directions to the government including an instruction to amend the provisions of the law.

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akhilesh yadav

Info members from judicial background not correct: SC told

Reported by (PTI) in business-standard.com on Dec 07, 2012

http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/info-membersjudicial-background-not-correct-sc-told/89991/

Votaries of transparency law today told the Supreme Court that its direction for appointing people from judicial background as members of the Central and state information commissions was "legally not correct" and would lead to "frustrating" the whole objective of the RTI Act.

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy disagreed with the apex court that persons from judicial background or lawyers with experience of 20 years would better serve as information commissioners as the job requires balancing act.

"That balance does not mean that there has to be lawyers and judges in the panel. The only thing required is transparent and rational method of selection of information commissioners," their counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted before a bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.

He further submitted that there was no surety that lawyers and judges would always perform a balancing act in answering queries as "there are lawyers who are quacks and there are judges who are quacks who do not know law."

The bench said it was emphasising on the balancing aspect because there have been several orders in the recent past which were "chaotic".

"Some of these orders are chaotic. There is no balance and they are absolutely chaotic," the bench said.

Bhushan said he along with Gandhi and Roy were actively involved in the drafting of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and they are of the view that implementing this particular direction in the September 13 judgement would "frustrate" the purpose of the law.

He said under the RTI Act there can only be 10 bench and if each bench would comprise of two members it will become half and badly affect the functioning of the Central Information Commission in view of the backlog.

"This will frustrate the whole objective of the Act," he said, adding that "this part of judgement (appointment of lawyers or persons with judicial background as members of information panel) is legally not correct," he said.

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RAVEENA_O

Info members from judicial background not correct: SC told

As reported in Moneylife Beta, December 7, 2012, Info members from judicial background not correct: SC told - Moneylife

 

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy disagreed with the apex court that persons from judicial background or lawyers with experience of 20 years would better serve as information commissioners as the job requires balancing act

 

New Delhi: Votaries of transparency law on Friday told the Supreme Court that its direction for appointing people from judicial background as members of the Central and state information commissions was "legally not correct" and would lead to "frustrating" the whole objective of the Right to Information Act (RTI), reports PTI.

 

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy disagreed with the apex court that persons from judicial background or lawyers with experience of 20 years would better serve as information commissioners as the job requires balancing act.

 

"That balance does not mean that there has to be lawyers and judges in the panel. The only thing required is transparent and rational method of selection of information commissioners," their counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted before a bench of justices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.

 

He further submitted that there was no surety that lawyers and judges would always perform a balancing act in answering queries as "there are lawyers who are quacks and there are judges who are quacks who do not know law."

 

The bench said it was emphasising on the balancing aspect because there have been several orders in the recent past which were "chaotic".

 

"Some of these orders are chaotic. There is no balance and they are absolutely chaotic," the bench said.

 

Bhushan said he along with Gandhi and Roy were actively involved in the drafting of the RTI Act and they are of the view that implementing this particular direction in the 13th September judgement would "frustrate" the purpose of the law.

 

He said under the RTI Act there can only be 10 bench and if each bench would comprise of two members it will become half and badly affect the functioning of the Central Information Commission in view of the backlog.

 

"This will frustrate the whole objective of the Act," he said, adding that "this part of judgement (appointment of lawyers or persons with judicial background as members of information panel) is legally not correct," he said.

 

An NGO, Commonwealth of Human Rights Initiative, through senior advocate MS Ganesh, submitted that information panels cannot be treated as quasi-judicial forums requiring the members to be from the judicial background.

 

He said the information panels are like administrative panels and people from all backgrounds can be considered.

 

The Court was hearing the Centre's plea seeking review of its judgement ruling that people from judicial background should also be appointed as members of Central and state information commissions and only sitting or retired chief justices of high courts or a Supreme Court judge can head them.

 

The Centre had on Thursday contested the view that only loyal bureaucrats are appointed.

 

Attorney General GE Vahanwati had said no such criteria is followed for these appointments and referred the case of the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai, who was earlier a bureaucrat.

 

He further submitted that the apex court verdict was wrong as it cannot rewrite a law which is a function of legislative body.

 

In its 13th September verdict, the apex court had also directed the Centre to amend the RTI Act.

 

"Chief Information Commissioner at the Centre or state level shall only be a person who is or has been a chief justice of the high court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India," the court had said.

 

The bench, however, had refused to quash the sections but asked the government to modify it so that people from judicial background are also preferred for the post.

 

Currently, none of the eight members of the Central Information Commission (CIC), including the Chief Information Commissioner, are from judicial background.

 

The CIC comprises one Chief Information Commissioner and 10 information commissioners.

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