In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on November 13th, 2019 has held that office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a public authority and comes under the transparency law, the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The SC bench was headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Other members of the bench included Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna. The bench upheld the Delhi High Court judgment which ruled that office of the Chief Justice comes under the purview of RTI.
“Transparency doesn’t undermine judicial independency,” Supreme Court bench said. “Neither RTI is under Article 19 nor is the right to privacy absolute. Judicial independence does not mean that the judges are precluded from the rule of law,” said Justice Chandrachud.
Justice Khanna said, ” Judicial independence and accountability go hand in hand.”
The Delhi High Court had held that the office of the CJI comes within the ambit of the RTI law on January 10th, 2010, saying judicial independence was not a judge’s privilege, rather a responsibility cast upon him.
The bench also maintained that the judiciary cannot be destroyed in the name of transparency.
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