Friday, May 28, 2010

[rti_india] Re: Delhi HC impact: CIC emerges divided house


After IC(AT) and IC(DS) made their point with a token strike (they have resumed work), IC(MA) has now decided that he must not appear to be in C'IC's camp and has trotted out that old (and thoroughly discredited) NCPRI joke called "autonomy" of CIC. Interestingly he is now targeting IC(SM) who refused to notify the CIC's self drafted (and self-serving "rules") as Secy/DoPT

"Delhi HC order 'impinged' on the autonomy of CIC"

New Delhi: In a scathing criticism of the Delhi High Court order scrapping the procedure followed by CIC for disposal of appeals, Information Commissioner M M Ansari on Friday said the order has impinged the autonomy in the functioning of the panel.

"Not only autonomy in the functioning of the CIC has thus been impinged upon but the future course of action, in respect of protecting the rights of information seekers, has been halted at the costs of jeopardizing the on-going RTI movement launched by the civil society and strongly supported by the UPA Government," Ansari said.

The High Court had struck down the rules framed by the Chief Information Commissioner on the procedure for deciding appeals before it under the RTI, saying the CIC has no power to enact such regulations under the transparency law. HC quashes rules framed by CIC prescribing appeal procedure

The order was passed on a plea of DDA seeking quashing of Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007 enacted by the Commissioner to decide procedure for special appeals before itself.

The Commissioner said the implications of the High Court order was that a single or division bench cannot decide an appeal before the Commission.

Contending that the order has created a crisis, he said,"The CIC would have to decide all the appeals in a full bench of all Information Commissioners till the RTI Act is amended to incorporate relevant provisions for constitution of benches."

The Commissioner said RTI Act empowers the Information Commissions with same powers as are vested in a Civil Court and to autonomously exercise all its powers without being subjected to directions by any other authorities under this Act.

When contacted Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said,"These are personal views of Ansari."

In his statement, Ansari said the legality of the procedure followed by the CIC in disposal of cases was also not the issue before the Court.

"A large number of decisions of the Information Commissions ? the Central and States have been challenged in different Courts. But, the Courts, including HC of Delhi has never before questioned the procedural guidelines followed by the Commission," he said.

Ansari is the first Information Commissioner to publicly air his views. He also attacked the government for not framing rules for the functioning of the Commission, saying this could have averted the present crisis.

He said,"Such interferences by the Government, and now the Court, tantamount to infringement in autonomous functioning the CIC, which has the mandate to ensure realization of people's rights to seek information held by the Government."

--- In, Sidharth Misra <sidharthbbsr@...> wrote:
> AS per one media report Mr. Habibullah decides against taking this to
> Supreme Court.
> ----------------------------------
> Days after the Delhi High Court sought to curb the autonomy of the
> Central Information Commission by holding that it had no power to
> frame the June 2007 rules to regulate its functioning, its chief
> Wajahat Habibullah said that the Commission would continue to function
> in the same manner and that the Attorney General has assured that the
> rules were in sync with the laws.
> Denying any possibility of moving the Supreme Court against the
> verdict, he said the Commission has asked the Centre to expedite its
> request to notify rules in the official gazette, thereby according
> legal sanction.
> In a stance not in tandem with what the court ruled on May 21,
> Habibullah said the rules were never in violation of the RTI Act or
> that the CIC lacked the power to frame them. "I spoke to Attorney
> General G E Vahanvati today and discussed at length the repercussions
> of the HC verdict. He told me that the rules were not in violation of
> the RTI Act. He assured me that Section 12 of the Act empowered the
> CIC to frame the impugned regulations," Habibullah said.
> ----------------------------------------------------------

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1 comment:

  1. This misquotes me entirely. I have certainly not cited AG Shri Vahanvati in the manner alleged