The Delhi High Court appears to love judicial glasnost, while the Supreme Court seems to be chary of it – going by their diametrically opposite responses to an RTI plea.
A plea for information on total number of cases, pending for judgment after conclusion of arguments in the last three years, has left the apex court scurrying for cover under its obscure rules, while the high court readily provided all the requisite information in one go.
The information had been sought from the two courts in December 2009 by a former naval officer, Commodore Lokesh K. Batra, under the Right to Information Act.
Batra, also a social and RTI activist, wanted the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to tell him of the “total number of cases pending, if any, for judgment, where arguments have been heard in the year 2007, 2008 and 2009.”
The apex court did not have an answer for this simple query. “I write to inform you that the data is not maintained by the registry in the manner sought for by you,” wrote back the apex court’s information official Raj Pal Arora to Commodore Batra.
“The matters filed in the Supreme Court of India are pending before the court,” Arora told Batra, advising him to refer to the relevant apex court rules and procedure for information on the queries posed by him.
But in contrast, the Delhi High Court had nohesitation in readily handing out the information. It told Commodore Batra that it has still 6 cases of 2007, 1 of 2008 and 107 of 2009, pending for delivery of judgment of its single judge benches, while it has 3 cases of 2008 and 260 of 2009 pending for judgment by its division benches.
Batra told reporters that ironically he had sought the information from the two courts after reading news reports as per which Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan had warned the judiciary of revolt by people against delay in justice delivery