SIC order relating to the court’s vigilance machinery stayed
A Division Bench of Justices P. Jyothimani and M. Duraiswamy of the Madras High Court granted interim stay of two separate orders of the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (SIC) relating to information about subordinate judges and the court’s vigilance machinery.
In one case, the applicant Mr.Venkatesh had made a complaint to Registrar (Vigilance), High Court, in May 2009 against two district judges. He sought copies of the deposition of certain witnesses in a case through an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The PIO and the First Appellate Authority of the court rejected his plea. On second appeal, the Tamilnadu SIC directed to provide the information sought within a fortnight. The Registrar-General submitted that the TNIC’s order was legally untenable and the applicant was out to “hinder the administrative functions of the High Court with some ulterior motive”. It was argued that the commission has passed the order without considering that the information sought by the applicant was barred by the provisions of Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.
In another case, the applicant Mr. K. Elango sought information about the number of subordinate judges in Tamil Nadu, employees in the judiciary in the State and judicial and police officers and other staff members in the vigilance department of the High Court through an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Admitting both the main petitions filed by the First Appellate Authority (the Registrar-General), the Madras High Court Bench ordered interim stay of the order of the Tamilnadu SIC.