Give arguments regarding the issue of bringing judiciary under the ambit of RTI.

The right to information act requires public authorities to provide requested information in a timeframe of 30 days. There have been demands for bringing judiciary too under the ambit of RTI.

Merits of bringing judiciary under RTI:

  • Transparency – the opacity plaguing the deliberations of the collegium can be reduced.
  • The assets of judges will be known publicly, helping check for ethical lapses.
  • It will uphold the ‘right to know’ of citizens.
  • It supports the principle that no institution can be exempt from transparency requirements.
  • Details of various special and empowered committees set up by the Supreme Court will be made public.
  • Safety – there will be clarity regarding number of sexual harassment complaints received and entertained under in-house procedure.

Demerits:

  • Judicial independence may be threatened severely.
  • The collegium may not be able to function properly, with members reluctant to openly express their opinion.
  • Any prospective Judge, against whom the collegium has made an adverse remark, will find his reputation ruined if collegium deliberations are made public under RTI.
  • Frivolous RTI applications may be filed to pester the judiciary.

Way forward:

The Supreme Court must take a progressive view on the issue of RTI applicability.

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