SC will not answer all RTI judgment queries

The Supreme Court today said its officials handling RTI matters cannot be expected to answer queries relating to judgments passed by it because of “limited resources” available with them.

“As far as the Central Public Information Officer is concerned, it may be very difficult to comment on a decision or give a report whether a thing has been done in a judgment or not. It is the job of a lawyer.”

“The CPIO may not be in the best position to actually understand the import of the decision,” counsel for Supreme Court Dev dutt Kamat said during a hearing at Central Information Commission.

He said, “CPIO has limited resources and limited infrastructure. Under the RTI regime, whatever is available in the registry, definitely, he will give but if this request is allowed we are going to land in lot of problems.”

Mr. Kamat submitted before the Commission that if information sought by any RTI applicant is in the “possession” of the registry of the apex court, it will definitely be given.

“But information as far as judgement is concerned. What is a judgement, what is the import of a judgement, what are the directions given in a judgement? That advice is best appropriate to be left to a lawyer,” he said.

Mr. Kamat was arguing in a hearing related to a case in which an RTI applicant was denied information about Supreme Court’s “suggestion” to the Union Government on Padma awards.

Applicant Subhash Chandra Agrawal had sought to know if the Union Home Ministry was ever directed by the apex court to constitute some committee for reforms in respect of Padma awards along with relevant documents.

Referring to an apex court decision, Mr. Kamat said Supreme Court had “only suggested” formation of a committee of the eminent persons to decide Padma awards.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said information given by Mr. Kamat “as a counsel” provides the answer to the query.

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