Chief Justice of India will now come under RTI lens, says Supreme Court

  • It said that the office of CJI will come under Right to Information act (RTI).
  • This means that information can be sought by anybody by filing an application.
  • However, Justice Ramana who pronounced the verdict also said that RTI should not be allowed to be used as a tool of surveillance.

The Supreme Court of India has made its chief justice accountable to the public. It said that the office of CJI will come under Right to Information (RTI) which means that information can be sought by anybody by filing an application.

“RTI office of Chief Justice of India is a public authority under RTI. Judicial independence has to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency,” ruled SC in its order.

However, Justice Ramana who pronounced the verdict also said that RTI should not be allowed to be used as a tool of surveillance.

"Nobody wants to remain in the state of darkness or keep anybody in the state of darkness. The question is drawing a line. In the name of transparency, you can't destroy the institution," the SC bench said. 2010 or now?

This order mirrors the Delhi High Court judgement which said that judicial independence was not the privilege of a judge but a responsibility. The case was filed by an RTI activist S C Agarwal who had engaged prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan to file the case.

The controversial case had triggered a debate between transparency and judicial freedom.

Bhushan had famously questioned if judges inhabit a “different universe” and described their reluctance to part information as “disturbing”.

This is the second important judgement that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has pronounced in the last week, after AYodhya case order on Saturday (November 9).
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