It was also pointed out that the method of appointment of SC judges and the information Commissioners was totally different.
New Delhi: The government has made it clear that the status of information commissioners and Supreme Court judges are in no way equivalent. Sources pointed out that the nature of the functions of the Supreme Court as well as the Election Commission of India on the one hand are on a different pedestal and cannot by any stretch of imagination, be equated with the limited mandate given to the Information Commission. Trying to put a lid on the controversy of any equivalence between information commissioners and Supreme Court judges, the government pointed out that orders of information commission can be challenged even before the high court too, apart from the Supreme Court.
Sources pointed out that as per the present provisions, the Chief Information Commissioner/information commissioners in the states and the Centre are currently given status equivalent to the Chief Election Commissioner/ Election Commissioners. The Chief Election Commissioner/election commissioners in turn are equated to the SC judges in terms of conditions of service. However, equating CIC and ICs to Supreme Court judges is anomalous on several counts.
“The Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India are institutions created by the Constitution, while the Information Commission is an institution created by a Statute. The Supreme Court of India is the apex court of the land. It is the third pillar of the Constitution charged with the supreme responsibility of being the custodian of the Constitution. Orders passed by the Supreme Court Judges are final and become law of the land,” sources said.
They pointed out that the Election Commission of India is also a creature of the Constitution and charged with the superintendence, direction and control of elections to both the Parliament as well as State assemblies. “On the other hand, the information commission is a creature of a statute, and not the Constitution. The mandate for Information Commission is confined to protection of a statutory right viz., Right to Information. Also, orders passed by CIC/State CIC are not final and can be challenged in the high court,” sources added.
It was also pointed out that there are other institutions and commissions, which are similarly charged with the protection of other statutory rights like NCDRC (Consumer Commission) etc. In these institutions, the members are not equated to Election Commissioners or the Supreme Court judges.
“The nature of the functions handled by the Supreme Court or Election Commission and the Information Commission are completely on a different footing. Without doubt, the nature of the functions of the Supreme Court as well as the Election Commission of India are on a different pedestal and cannot by stretch of imagination, be equated with the limited mandate given to the Information Commission,” sources added.
It was also pointed out that the method of appointment of SC judges and the information Commissioners was totally different. Qualification and experience required for appointment as a Supreme Court Judge is different as compared to the qualification and experience required for appointment as Chief Information Commissioner/information Commissioner, sources added.