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R.R. KRISHNAA (Legal Manager)     27 November 2009

Curb RTI Ambit In Judiciary - CJI TO PM

Curb RTI Ambit In Judiciary - CJI TO PM


NEW DELHI: Rattled by a spate of Central Information Commission (CIC) orders asking the judiciary to divulge details on sensitive issues like appointment of judges, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his help in exempting matters relating to administration of justice from the purview of RTI Act.

The letter highlights the process of judicial appointment in India on the basis of a Supreme Court judgment and pointed out that under the prevailing process, the meeting of the collegium seldom put in writing its views on persons who were rejected from being appointed as judges of high courts or the Supreme Court.

There were other sensitive matters relating to administration of justice, which if divulged could create division within the judiciary and ultimately tell upon its independence, the letter said.

Highly placed sources said the PM shared the CJI's concern and forwarded the letter to the law ministry for appropriate action.

The CJI wrote to the PM that secrecy around the selection process of judges was not unique to India. In US, he argued, information about selection of judges could only be given to the public after 15 years of the event and in Australia, it was completely exempted from the purview of the right to information of public.

Meanwhile, at the Law Day function organised in the Supreme Court, Justice Balakrishnan said the judiciary had no objections to Parliament effecting laws to change the present collegium process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

Responding to SC Bar Association president M N Krishnamani's charge that India was the only country where judges appointed judges and that the selection process for judges to HCs and SC needed to be broad-based, the CJI said judiciary was following the system put in place by a constitution Bench of the apex court and that he was bound by it.

"We are not opposed to any change in the appointment process. Let Parliament decide a fresh process and if it is good for the country, we will be happy to follow the new system. Let us not blindly follow the selection process prevalent in other countries. We can have our own system," Justice Balakrishnan said.

However, he said it would be difficult in the present circumstances to allow video recording of proceedings in the Supreme Court.



 30 Replies

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     29 November 2009

 My suggestion.

Repeal RTI Act. It is increasingly getting embarrassing for the government and judiciary. Skeletons are rolling out.

1 Like

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     01 December 2009

I thought that we have achieved great things by legislating RTI, but now its shocking why our CJI wants to curbed RTI. What RTI has done to the judiciary? I think something is wroung with Judiciary.

1 Like

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     01 December 2009

 We the people of India........

A survey of retail crime and loss in the world says India has the highest retail shrinkage at 3.2% in the world. Retail shrinkage is the loss of


products due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. The country’s retailers complain that the main causes for the US $2.6 billion loss are shoplifting and employee theft.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     04 December 2009

 Great news. Greater judiciary. Functional democracy. Rule of law.

An appeal from the Supreme Court to itself may sound odd but its unease with CIC's orders had pushed the apex court to exercise the unusual option. The SC had moved the SC on Monday over the issue. 

v.lakshminarayanan (prop)     29 December 2009

dear members

it is really unfortunate for the CJI to take this view and write to the PM. In a democracy, all are equal and the RTI act is the only weapon in the hands of citizen to atleast know the illegal activities of the bureaucracy. 

the selection procedure for judges is totally flawed at the moment. when you have a lengthy procedure for appointment of even chowkidhars, there is absolutely no proper procedure for appointment of higher judicial officers. for lower judiciary, the public service commissions and high courts are there.  a national judicial commission is a must. the collegium of the supreme court alone cannot and should not take such important decisions themselves. and the cloak of secrecy should go. there should be proper laid down norms for elevating people to such higher judicial posts.  there is a constitutional provision to appoint anybody who is a distinguished jurist as a high court or supreme court judge. such redundant provisions should be removed. 

i strongly oppose any move to amend the RTI act. if at all, it should be further strengthened with more stringent provisions if information is refused. at present, the act says that if information is not furnished within the 30 days time, the application is deemed to be refused. this provision must go. 

of course, if RTI act is to be really successful, all public offices should  be computerised and networked and all records should be digitised. the govt. should recruit separate staff for doing the RTI work. otherwise, the whole act would be ineffective.      

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     29 December 2009

 They are more equal than others.


I agree with shri. Lakshminarayanan's view.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     17 January 2010

 Started getting jittery and scared?

Arup Kumar Gupta, Korba, Chattishgarh ((m)9893058429)     17 January 2010

cji should understand that law is above all not judiciary.

v.lakshminarayanan (prop)     17 January 2010

dear members

i am absolutely happy that the full bench of the delhi high court has upheld the single judge's order on RTI disclosure.

it is significant that the court has observed that the RTI act is the most important piece of activity in the history of the country.

it has also observed that tax returns are exempt from RTI disclosure. this is contrary to a recent decision by CIC _ rakesh kumar gupta vs CPIO, CIT , New delhi. in that case, the CIC has ruled that the documents submitted by any citizen to any public authority is disclosable. it includes IT returns.

an interesting legal battle is on the cards.

i hope that the full court of the hon'ble supreme court will refrain from filing an appeal - it will be meaningless if the registrar general of supreme court appeals to his own court. ideally supreme court should not hear an appeal from its own registry. how can such hearing be fair?

the supreme court should understand the letter and spirit of RTI act. but i agree with CJI on one thing - the papers relating to judicial proceedings and appointments or transfers of judges should not be made public till the proceedings are over. a similar exemption has been given to cabinet deliberations. such proceedings should  be disclosed only after they are over.

it is another matter that the judicial appointments and transfers are clothed in secrecy now. it should be changed. a national judicial commission is of urgent need. the to be judges have to go through a stringent tests before becoming high court or supreme court judges. then only be the process fair and transparent. it may take time but the commission must maintain a list of eligible candidates throughout. the  courts and the govt. should be in a position to select from that list, subject to their own procedures.    

it is another distressing event to note - an RTI activist has been murdered very recently. if it is in retaliation to his RTI activism, it will be a very sad commentary on the nature of our democratic governance.


long live RTI act - it should be only strengthened not weakened. it is the ONLY weapon we have against corruption, inefficiency, nepotism etc. 

1 Like

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     17 January 2010

 Again SHOULD? Dear Sir, they don't understand. Have you not read that a fight is on for paying T.A. bill of CJI's wife?

1 Like

Arup Kumar Gupta, Korba, Chattishgarh ((m)9893058429)     17 January 2010

"long live RTI act - it should be only strengthened not weakened. it is the ONLY weapon we have against corruption, inefficiency, nepotism etc." - what more can we expect in a democratic country?

more rti means more freedom; more open means more uncovered; if everything of governmental procedure is nacked - then there shall be nothing to hide; and the India and the world will get a corruptionless system.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     17 January 2010

 Read this and wake up from your slumber.



The Central Information Commissioner

Club Building, Near Post Office

Old JNU Campus

New Delhi-110067.


Sub: Manipulation of CIC’s records




Please refer to your letter No.CIC/PB/C/2008/635 dated 4/8/2009 in the matter of Anil Agrawal versus CPIO, MoH&FW.


2. The contents of the Commission’s letter show the helplessness in enforcing its order. The CIC asked the CPIO to “offer” his comments within 10 working days from the date of receipt of its letter dated 25/08/2008 under intimation to me. I received no comments from him. In its order dated 28/11/2008 after the hearing, the Commission noted

“The CIC vide its letter dated 25/08/2008 requested the Public Authority to provide comments on the appeal / complaint of the Appellant, but received no reply.” In other words, the PIO treated the letter of the CIC with contempt and did not care to respond. Therefore, to expect that he would send his comments to me, as directed by the CIC, was naturally a far cry.


3. The CIC scheduled a hearing on 28/11/2008. I am a 70 years old person residing at Mumbai and with scant financial resources, it was not possible for me to attend the hearing. But, the PIO, sitting just a few kilometers away from the office of the CIC, too did not care to attend the hearing. In other words, he does not care to respond to the written communication from the CIC nor does he care to attend the hearing. Quite obviously, the CIC has no authority to enforce attendance of the PIOs even when they are stationed at Delhi.


4. After the hearing on 28/11/2008, three things emerge:

1)       The CIC asked the PIO in decision No.6 as follows: “The Commission directs the CPIO to show cause as to why a maximum penalty of Rs.25000 should not be levied on him for not replying the Appellant’s RTI application. The response to reach the Commission within 15 days of this Order.” 

The copy of this order bears the despatcher’s stamp ‘ISSUED’ and that it was issued on 06 DEC 2008. Again, as per PIO’s usual contempt for the Commission, he did not respond to the order. What happened to the orders of the CIC dated 25/08/2008 and 28/11/2008? The best guess is that they were never dispatched to the PIO though the office copy may tell a different story. Be that as it may, how was the order of the CIC dated 28/11/2008 followed up and implemented? The simple answer is that no follow-up action was taken in the Commission and the order was simply filed never to see the light of the day until I raised this question in my complaint dated 27/05/2009. In this connection, please refer to letter No.CIC/PB/C/2008/635/AD dated 13/5/2009, which says: “However, the comments of the PIO is not available in the file and therefore we are unable to provide the same.” Naturally, when the order of the Commission is not communicated to the PIO and he treats such order with contempt, his comments won’t be available there was nobody to enforce the decision.


2)       Now I come to the question of mystery of Decision No.6 of the CIC’s order dated 28/11/2008 itself. There are two decisions and two different orders both bearing the same numbers and dates. One contains the decision about imposition of penalty and the other is silent about it. On 12/8/2009, I have been informed by the CIC “The Commission had not issued any order which was diametrically opposite. The only thing which I noticed is that the para which had asked the CPIO to show-cause for the delay had not been uploaded in the decision on the website. The matter is being looked into to know how this para got omitted while uploading the decision on the net…”

I reproduce the decision dated 28/11/2008 in the version  sent to me and as uploaded:

Version sent to me

Version uploaded

4. The Commission directs the CPIO, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to provide information to the Appellant as requested in his RTI application. A copy of the RTI application is enclosed for ready reference.


4. The Commission directs the CPIO, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to provide information to the Appellant as requested in his RTI application. A copy of the RTI application is enclosed for ready reference.


5. The information to be provided within 15 days of receipt of this order.


5. The information to be provided within 15 days of receipt of this order.


6. The Commission directs the CPIO to show cause as to why a maximum penalty of Rs.25000 should not be levied on him for not replying the Appellant’s RTI application. The response to reach the Commission within 15 days of this Order.

Left out


7. The appeal / complaint is disposed of.

6. The appeal / complaint is disposed of.


Para 6 has 41 words and the order number of paragraphs has been changed in the uploaded version omitting the show-cause clause i.e. the uploaded has paras 4, 5 and 6 and the actual version sent to me has paras 4, 5, 6 and 7 and the show-cause para is No.6. When the decision is uploaded, there is no known software which will upload the decision, omit the contents of para 6 and yet change the order of paragraphs as 4, 5 and 6 (i.e. 4 paragraph become 3 paragraphs).


3)       If at all the show cause notice was sent to the PIO, how is it that he has not complied with the order of the Commission in decision No.4? I have been informed by the Commission that CIC has asked the Joint Registrar to inquire in this case. The fact that the PIO has disobeyed the orders dated 25/8/2008, 25/11/2008 and 4/8/2009 and the penalty clause has been omitted in the uploaded version clearly points to the tampering with and manipulation of the records of the Commission and this is clearly an attempt to protect the PIO.


I request you to let me know the result of the inquiry and the action taken in the matter against the PIO.


Yours faithfully,



(Anil Agrawal)

D-403 Veena Nagar, Opp: SBI, S.V. Road, Malad West, Mumbai-400064.


Anil Agrawal (Retired)     17 January 2010

 Tell me now.

Who will cure the CIC?

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