Day 59 – Q 4.Should the judiciary be brought under the purview of the RTI Act? Will it not lead to enhanced public trust in the judiciary? Critically comment.
4. Should the judiciary be brought under the purview of the RTI Act? Will it not lead to enhanced public trust in the judiciary? Critically comment.
क्या न्यायपालिका को आरटीआई अधिनियम के दायरे में लाया जाना चाहिए? क्या इससे न्यायपालिका में जनता का विश्वास नहीं बढ़ेगा? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
The Indian judicial system has attained maturity over a period of more than one and a half century and has now earned an international reputation as one of the most efficient adjudicatory systems of the world. Time and again it has vehemently supported the principles of transparency and irritability in all spheres of governance. The Right to Information Act (RTI) aims to promote transparency in government institutions in India.
Judiciary can be said to be the backbone of the right to information (RTI).Thus, bringing it under RTI purview will enhance public trust in judiciary.
Arguments for bringing the Judiciary under RTI:
- All power, judicial power being no exception, is held accountable in a modern Constitution.
- A blanket judicial exemption from the RTI Act would defeat the basic idea of “open justice”: that the workings of the courts, as powerful organs of state, have to be as transparent and open to public scrutiny as any other body.
- Bringing the judiciary under the RTI Act will not destroy the personal privacy of judges as feared: as the High Court judgment noted, the RTI Act itself has an inbuilt privacy-oriented protection, which authorises withholding the disclosure of personal information unless there is an overriding public interest.
- While disclosure of assets is arguably justified by an overriding public interest, medical details or information about marital status, for example, are clearly not. There will always be borderline cases, of course, but that only calls for nuanced and fine-grained analysis of such cases, nothing more.
- The Collegiums at present has immunised itself from any form of public scrutiny. The nomination process is secret, the deliberations are secret, and the reasons for elevation or non-elevation are secret.
- Courts have always been questioned for pending cases. RTI can place yardstick among judicial for timely disposure of justice.
Will it enhance the public trust in judiciary?
- Transparency in judicial functioning is crucial to maintaining public faith in the impartiality of the institution.
- It will ensure that accountability shall target mismanagement, abuse of discretion, corruption and other administrative malpractices.
- People of the country have increasingly started believing in the decision of the courts and have, from time to time, shown their faith in the judicial process. This move of exempting judiciary from RTI without any just, legal or logical reasoning will cast doubts on the judges and the public confidence in such a pious institution will be lost.
Arguments against bringing the Judiciary under RTI
- Disclosing the correspondence of the Collegium might destroy judicial independence and disclosing the reasons for rejection of a judge might destroy his or her life or career.
- It will compromise independence of judiciary as specified by constitution.
- It will challenge the decision-making power of Supreme Court.
- It will create extra burden on judiciary as every field will be answerable by judiciary.
- It will compromise secrecy & security involved in certain cases. This may prove detrimental for our country.
- Judiciary will become puppet in the hands of people rather than being the sole justice provider of the country.
- It will increase the political involvement in judiciary.
The RTI has been inherently recognized as a part of the right to freedom of an individual through the prism of fundamental rights. The growth of PIL has considerably helped in eroding the secrecy regime and provided access to information and democratization of the judicial process. Right to Information is no doubt a key to good governance. But it also has to be kept in mind that the independence of the judiciary is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. Thus, while dealing with the ambit of RTI act regarding judiciary, its applicability and extend both have to be taken into consideration.