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A-Diary copies of civil & criminal proceedings cannot be obtained under RTI Act: Kerala HC

Team SoOLEGAL 23 Aug 2022 3:11pm

A-Diary copies of civil & criminal proceedings cannot be obtained under RTI Act: Kerala HC

New Delhi: The Kerala High Court has ruled that copies of the 'A' diary of civil and criminal postings of cases relate to judicial proceedings and that an application for the same under the RTI Act cannot be entertained.

Copy of A-diary of criminal and civil cases can be accessed by filing petitions under the relevant Rules of Practice, but not under the RTI Act, according to Justice Murali Purushothaman.

“These provisions regarding application for copies under the Rules of Practice in the Subordinate Courts are almost in pari materia with Rule 128 and 129 of the Rules of the High Court of Kerala, 1971 framed under Article 225 of the Constitution of India. The copies of ''A' diary of civil and criminal postings of the cases' can be obtained by the petitioner on filing applications under the relevant Rules of Practice,” according to the judgment.

The decision was based on a petition filed by one advocate, MP Chothy, a retired Class I officer who is now a practicing lawyer.

Adv. Chothy had applied under the RTI Act to the Public Information Officer (PIO), District Court, Ernakulam, for copies of "A' diary of civil and criminal postings of the cases from December 2021 to April 2022.

However, the PIO denied the application, citing that the information sought can be received by submitting a copy application and that the material is also available on the Court's website, the Court notice board, and the District Court's Kiosk.

The petitioner was also advised that because the 'A' diary is part of court proceedings, the matter was brought to the attention of the appropriate judge, and the application was rejected on the grounds that such material cannot be provided under Sections 2.8(V), 3(a), and 8B (sic) of the RTI Act.

The petitioner then sought the same relief from the appellate authority.

The Appellate Authority, however, dismissed the appeal, stating that the information sought by the petitioner pertains to judicial proceedings and that the High Court, under Rule 12 of the Right to Information (Subordinate Courts and Tribunals) Rules, 2006, has instructed all subordinate courts in the State that no information about any judicial proceedings shall be disclosed underneath the RTI Act.

The petitioner filed an appeal with the High Court after being dissatisfied with the PIO's decision and the Appellate Authority's order.

The petitioner further sought the revocation of Rule 12 of the Rules, claiming that it violates the petitioner's fundamental right provided by Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution and the provisions of the RTI Act.

The Court cited the Supreme Court's decision in Chief Information Commissioner v High Court of Gujarat & Anr. and ruled that the copies of "A' diary of civil and criminal postings of the cases requested by the petitioner pertain to judicial proceedings and that such application for information cannot be contented under the Rules.

“The Apex Court in the Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat and another has held that when the information can be obtained through the mechanism provided under the rules made by the High Court, the said mechanism should be preserved and followed and the provisions of the RTI Act shall not be resorted to. Since the copies of ''A' diary of civil and criminal postings of the cases' can be obtained by the petitioner on filing applications under the Rules of Practice, the provisions of the RTI Act shall not be resorted,” the court ruled.



Tagged: Diary copies   criminal  
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