DoPT seeks advice on court’s verdict on info panel

The Department of Personnel and Traininghas sought the Law Ministry’s advice on the Supreme Courtverdict making it mandatory for the hearings in Central and State Information Commissions to be carried out by people with judicial backgrounds.

“We have held inter-departmental discussions with officials concerned on the Apex court decision. The department has decided to seek advice from Law Ministry on the matter,” a Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) official said.

Based on the legal advice, the official said, the future course on whether or not to go for appeal against the order will be decided.

“The legal advice is expected in few days,” the official said.

On September 13, the Supreme Court had passed the order making it mandatory for the transparency panels at the respective levels to have at least one judicial member while hearing appeals or complaints of information seekers under RTI Act.

At present, the eight-member CIC does not have any such member who possess qualifications listed out by the apex court.

The CIC, meanwhile, has sent a representation to the DoPT, the nodal department for implementation of RTI Act, seeking further directives on the matter.

The apex court had ruled that Information Commissions at the respective levels shall henceforth work in benches of two members each. One of them being a judicial member, while the other an expert member. The judicial member should be a person possessing a degree in law, having a judicially trained mind and experience in performing judicial functions.

It had also said the Chief Information Commissioner at the Centre or in the states shall only be a person who is or has been a Chief Justice of the high court or a judge of the Supreme Court.

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