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The office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the ambit of RTI law- Case analysis
Central public information officer, Supreme Court of India v Subhash Chandra Agrawal. ( CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10044 OF 2010)
The core issue in this case was the contention that whether the office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the ambit of Right to Information law.
Facts/Timeline- The initiation of this contention dates back to 2007 when an RTI activist SC Agrawal sought a copy of resolution which requires every judge to make declaration of all his assets. At that time, the Hon’ble Supreme Court's declaration of assets was made to India's Chief Justice (CJI) and was not even of a voluntary nature to disclose it to the public domain. The apex court refused to declare the assets.
Agrawal moved the CIC (Central information commission), which ruled that the Chief Justice of India's office fell within the scope of the RTI Act and that the Supreme Court could not deny the information sought under the RTI Act.
Agrawal ,in 2009 in the CIC, had sought information of correspondence between the Collegium and the government on the selection of three judges of the Supreme Court- HL Dattu, AK Ganguly, and RM Lodha who had replaced the AP Shah, AK Patnaik, and VK Gupta.
The CIC had instructed the office of Chief Justice to disclose the details of correspondence under the RTI Act. This was refused by the Supreme Court.
In furtherance of this, the Supreme Court moved to Hon’ble Delhi High Court stating that the declaration of assets of CJI was “personal information” and does not comes under the scope of RTI act. This move was against the CIC ruling to declare the assets.
The single judge bench of the High court upheld the ruling of CIC by giving the reason that office of the CJI is a public authority and comes under the scope of RTI act.
In January 2010 Supreme Court moved the Delhi High Court with a bigger bench and the same was upheld by this bench also that CJI office comes under RTI act as a public authority
Now, by filing a petition against the Delhi High Court ruling, the Supreme Court approached itself. In the RTI case in 2010, a Supreme Court three-judge bench remained in the Delhi High Court judgment. Six years later, the RTI case was referred to a constitutional bench of five judges.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed
The Constitution Bench upheld the CIC's ruling and the Delhi High Court's two subsequent verdicts. With the office of the CJI coming under the RTI Act, the ordinary citizen can seek information about the judges ' assets as well as the reason for their appointment.
The ruling will lead to adding transparency and accountability to the work of the highest judiciary in the country . As a high constitutional position, this will improve its legitimacy and appeal as a human agency in a democratic system. "Disclosure is a facet of public interest," he said, "which should be the touchstone for all offices and organizations to operate. The bench of five judges unanimously held that the right to know under the RTI Act is not absolute and must be balanced against the judges ' right to privacy.
The bench of five judges unanimously held that the right to know under the RTI Act is not absolute and must be balanced against the judges ' right to privacy’. The challenge is to separate public, relevant and important information from private, irrelevant and insignificant issues, which will require high standards of judgment.
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Information which is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, pedophilic, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, pornographic, obscene or offensive content or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever.
Availability, price, condition, alternative ordering information (such as links to other websites for placing orders).
Reviews, quotes or testimonials.
Solicitations for positive customer reviews.
Advertisements, promotional material, or watermarks on images, photos or videos.
Information which belongs to another person and to which the REGISTERED USER does not have any right to.
Information which infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights.
Information which deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of the messages or communicates any information which is grossly offensive or menacing in nature.
Information which threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or causes incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence or prevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any other nation.
Information containing software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer resource.
Information violating any law for the time being in force.
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Prohibited REGISTERED USER Activities and Actions
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The use of e-mail intended to divert customers away from the SoOLEGAL.com Transactions process.
Unauthorised & improper "Names": A REGISTERED USER's Name (identifying the REGISTERED USER's entity on SoOLEGAL.com) must be a name that: accurately identifies the REGISTERED USER; is not misleading: and the REGISTERED USER has the right to use (that is, the name cannot include the trademark of, or otherwise infringe on, any trademark or other intellectual property right of any person). Furthermore, a REGISTERED USER cannot use a name that contains an e-mail suffix such as .com, .net, .biz, and so on.
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Inappropriate e-mail communications: All REGISTERED USER e-mail communications with buyers must be courteous, relevant and appropriate. Unsolicited e-mail communications with SoOLEGAL , e-mail communications other than as necessary and related customer service, and e-mails containing marketing communications of any kind (including within otherwise permitted communications) are prohibited.
Operating multiple REGISTERED USER accounts: Operating and maintaining multiple REGISTERED USER accounts is prohibited.
In your request, please provide an explanation of the legitimate business need for a second account.
Misuse of Search and Browse: When customers use SoOLEGAL's search engine and browse structure, they expect to find relevant and accurate results. To protect the customer experience, all Documents/ Advice-related information, including keywords and search terms, must comply with the guidelines provided under . Any attempt to manipulate the search and browse experience is prohibited.
of the ratings, feedback or Documents/ Advice reviews: REGISTERED
USERS cannot submit abusive or inappropriate feedback entries,
coerce or threaten buyers into submitting feedback, submit
transaction feedback regarding them, or include personal information
about a transaction partner within a feedback entry. Furthermore,
any attempt to manipulate ratings of any REGISTERED USER is
prohibited. Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or
Documents/ Advice reviews is prohibited.
are important to the SoOLEGAL Platform, providing a forum for
feedback about Documents/ Advice and service details and reviewers'
experiences with Documents/ Advices and services –
or negative. You may not write reviews for Documents/ Advices or
services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews
for Documents/ Advices or services that you or your competitors deal
with. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review
(including free or discounted Documents/ Advices). Review
solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer
compensation are prohibited. You may not ask buyers to modify or
REGISTERED USERS are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that the items posted to our website are in compliance with all applicable laws. If we determine that the content of a Documents/ Advice detail page or listing is prohibited, potentially illegal, or inappropriate, we may remove or alter it without prior notice. SoOLEGAL reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate.
following list of prohibited Documents/ Advices comprises two
sections: Prohibited Content and Intellectual Property
Listing prohibited content may result in the cancellation of your listings, or the suspension or removal of your transacting privileges. REGISTERED USERS are responsible for ensuring that the Documents/ Advices they offer are legal and authorised for Transaction or re-Transaction.
If we determine that the content of a Documents/ Advice detail page or listing is prohibited, potentially illegal, or inappropriate, we may remove or alter it without prior notice. SoOLEGAL reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate.
Illegal and potentially illegal Documents/ Advices: Documents/ Advices sold on SoOLEGAL.in must adhere to all applicable laws. As REGISTERED USERS are legally liable for their actions and transactions, they must know the legal parameters surrounding any Documents/ Advice they display on our website.
Offensive material: SoOLEGAL reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings posted to our website.
Nudity: In general, images that portray nudity in a gratuitous or graphic manner are prohibited.
Items that infringe upon an individual's privacy. SoOLEGAL holds personal privacy in the highest regard. Therefore, items that infringe upon, or have potential to infringe upon, an individual's privacy are prohibited.
Intellectual Property Violations
Counterfeit merchandise: Documents/ Advices displayed on our website must be authentic. Any Documents/ Advice that has been illegally replicated, reproduced or manufactured is prohibited.
Books - Unauthorised copies of books are prohibited.
Movies - Unauthorised copies of movies in any format are prohibited. Unreleased/prereleased movies, screeners, trailers, unpublished and unauthorized film scripts (no ISBN number), electronic press kits, and unauthorised props are also prohibited.
Photos - Unauthorised copies of photos are prohibited.
Television Programs - Unauthorised copies of television Programs (including pay-per-view events), Programs never broadcast, unauthorised scripts, unauthorised props, and screeners are prohibited.
Transferred media. Media transferred from one format to another is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to: films converted from NTSC to Pal and Pal to NTSC, laserdisc to video, television to video, CD-ROM to cassette tape, from the Internet to any digital format, etc.
Promotional media: Promotional versions of media Documents/ Advices, including books (advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs), music, and videos (screeners) are prohibited. These Documents/ Advices are distributed for promotional consideration and generally are not authorized for Transaction.
Rights of Publicity: Celebrity images and/or the use of celebrity names cannot be used for commercial purposes without permission of a celebrity or their management. This includes Documents/ Advice endorsements and use of a celebrity's likeness on merchandise such as posters, mouse pads, clocks, image collections in digital format, and so on.
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