15 Jan 2010

RTI does not apply to court judgments: Supreme Court

In a recent decision the Supreme Court has declared that the provisions of Right to Information Act do not apply to the judicial process of decision making and thus information under the Act cannot be obtained on the manner and the reasoning behind the judge arriving at a particular decision. The Supreme Court inter alia declared the law as under;

Of course, under the RTI Act an applicant is entitled to get copy of the opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed, especially in matters pertaining to judicial decisions. A judge speaks through his judgments or orders passed by him. If any party feels aggrieved by the order/judgment passed by a judge, the remedy available to such a party is either to challenge the same by way of appeal or by revision or any other legally permissible mode. No litigant can be allowed to seek information as to why and for what reasons the judge had come to a particular decision or conclusion. A judge is not bound to explain later on for what reasons he had come to such a conclusion.

A judge cannot be expected to give reasons other than those that have been enumerated in the judgment or order. The application filed by the petitioner before the public authority is per se illegal and unwarranted. A judicial officer is entitled to get protection and the object of the same is not to protect malicious or corrupt judges, but to protect the public from the dangers to which the administration of justice would be exposed if the concerned judicial officers were subject to inquiry as to malice, or to litigation with those whom their decisions might offend. If anything is done contrary to this, it would certainly affect the independence of the judiciary. A judge should be free to make independent decisions.

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