A-G said for the purpose of the elevation of a judge, that the whole of it relates to a class of information which is highly sensitive.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the plea to bring the decision relating to appointment of high court and apex court judges under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
A Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices N.V. Ramana, D.Y. Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna reserved the verdict at the conclusion of arguments from attorney-general (A-G) K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the apex court, and Prashant Bhushan, appearing for RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.
The entire issue is rooted in the order of Delhi high court and that of the Central Information Commission (CIC) holding that the Supreme Court was covered under the RTI and thus obliged to disclose information about the judges’ appointments and other judicial information.
Advocate Bhushan said that an impression is gaining ground that the judiciary is shying away from bringing transparency in its system due to delay in deciding the cases.
He argued that since the entire system of appointments and decisions by the collegium is shrouded in mystery, the decisions should be disclosed to ensure transparency.
Earlier in 2009, the CIC had upheld Mr Agrawal’s plea seeking from the apex court complete information, including file notings relating to appointment of Justices H.L. Dattu, A.K. Ganguly and R.M. Lodha, all of whom have since retired.
Opposing such disclosure, the A-G said for the purpose of the elevation of a judge, that the whole of it relates to a class of information which is highly sensitive. The collegium has to function with total confidentiality, which is important for the functioning of the institution itself. Free and frank discussions among the collegium members and the independence of the judges not considered for elevation, which is all a part of the basic structure, will stand invaded otherwise.