The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the order of its single judge bench that had required the Supreme Court registry to provide information under the RTI Act on the pending cases in the apex court on which orders had been reserved. Setting aside the December 2014 order, a division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath held that the Central Information Commission (CIC) cannot direct any public authority to record information in “a particular manner” as requested by an RTI applicant.
“It appears to us that the requirement is only to maintain the records in a manner which facilitates the right to information under the Act. As already noticed above, ‘right to information’ under Section 2(J) means only the right to information which is held by any public authority. We do not find any other provision under the Act under which a direction can be issued to the public authority to collate the information in the manner in which it is sought by the applicant,” the bench held.
RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra had filed an RTI request seeking data on the number of judgments reserved and kept pending between 2007-09.
The request had been denied on grounds that the Supreme Court registry did not keep such records.
The CIC had then issued orders for the registry to maintain the records.
The SC registry told the HC that the CIC order violated Article 145 of the Constitution, under which the SC was empowered to make its own rules on procedure.
It said that although such data was maintained, it was not being collated in any particular format and it should not be made public.