In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the office Chief Justice of India fell under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In a majority verdict, the five-judge constitutional bench said, “The CJI is within the public authority. The Right to Information and Right to Privacy are two sides of the same coin.”
The top court upheld the 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court, which had ruled that the RTI Act was applicable to the CJI’s office. “Transparency does not undermine judicial independence. Judicial independence and accountability go hand in hand. Disclosure is a facet of public interest”, Livelaw website quoted Justice Sanjiv Khanna, who wrote the majority verdict on behalf of the bench.
Justice Ramana said, “The judiciary must be protected from surveillance. RTI can be used as a tool for keeping an eye on the judiciary.”
The bench had reserved its judgment in April on the appeal filed by the Supreme Court Secretariat against the 2010 judgment of Delhi HC which held that the RTI Act was applicable to the office of the CJI.