Delhi HC Reserves Judgement In Plea Challenging CIC Order Against Disclosing Agenda Of SC Collegium Meeting
Delhi High Court today reserved judgment in a plea challenging the Central Information Commission's (CIC) order dismissing an RTI appeal seeking the agenda of the Supreme Court Collegium's meeting on December 12, 2018, when certain decisions were purportedly taken on elevation of judges to the Apex Court.
A Bench of Justice Yashwant Verma was hearing a Petition filed by Anjali Bhardwaj challenging the CIC's order dated December 16, 2021. Bhardwaraj via her RTI application dated 26th February 2019 had sought information regarding the Supreme Court Collegium's meeting.
The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan. He contended that the Information as defined under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act includes agendas, memos, digital copies, etc. He further contended that Justice Madan B Lokur in one of the interviews remarked that "Once we take certain decisions, they have to be uploaded. I am disappointed that they were not".
In this context, the petitioner approached the CPIO of the Supreme Court and sought a copy of the agenda, decisions, and resolution of the collegium meeting held on December 12, 2018.
Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, the then Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, the then Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, had received a green light for the elevation to the Supreme Court in the collegium meeting on December 12, 2018, according to the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. This information was revealed in his latest book "Justice for the Judge".
However, the information was leaked and the matter was kept pending. Justice Lokur retired in the meanwhile and a new Collegium was in the picture. The New Collegium did not clear the two names as decided on December 12, 2018.
The agenda of the meeting of December 12, 2018, had also not been uploaded on the Supreme Court Website.
This made the petitioner approach the Supreme Court under the RTI Act. The CPIO refused to provide the said information.
The petitioner approached the FAA(First Appellate Authority), but it rejected the appeal by relying on the resolution of the new Collegium dated January 10, 2019. Then CIC also rejected the petitioners' appeal relying on the resolution of the new collegium. The petitioner then approached the Delhi High Court which heard the plea today.