Skip to main content

Gujarat High Court asked to "proactively disclose" monitoring system set up on pending cases

Rajagopalan (right) near his office in Gandhinagar
By Our Representative
In a major order, chief information commissioner (CIC), Gujarat, D Rajagopalan, has asked the Gujarat High Court to furnish all the necessary details sought by Kalpeshkumar L Gupta, under the right to information (RTI) Act, regarding “monitoring system” set up by the High Court on cases that are being fought in courts in Gujarat. The High Court’s public information officer (PIO), who is supposed to hear RTI cases, had rejected Gupta’s plea on July 2, 2012, saying, the information sought does not come “within the definition of information under the RTI Act.”
Academic associate at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and PhD scholar at Gujarat National Law University, Gupta had sought, in his representation dated June 22, 2012, information on “the status of pending cases, monitoring the cases of subordinate judiciary, the periodicity of such monitoring and the use of information technology system for monitoring”, to quote Rajagopalan, former chief secretary under Narendra Modi. He passed his order against the Gujarat High Court’s PIO on May 6, 2014.
The order said, “Perusing the information sought by the appellant in his application, the commission feels that the appellant is keen to know as to whether the Gujarat High Court, the supreme supervisor of all the subordinate judicial institutions in the state, has any system of monitoring the disposal of cases and whether the information technology system is used for effective monitoring of the functioning of the subordinate judiciary.”
It ruled, “The information commission feels that the information sought by the appellant is well within the ambit of RTI Act and is covered within the definition of information under section 2 of the RTI Act.” Going further, it said, the information sought by Gupta fell under “proactive disclosure” which the Gujarat High Court ordinarily should make public on its own accord, without waiting for any RTI plea.
Rajagopalan insisted, “The commission feels that such information is normally covered under section 4 of the RTI Act and made a part of the proactive disclosure of the Gujarat High Court, so that the applicants come to know about the functioning of the Gujarat High Court and also monitoring of the subordinate courts. The Commission, therefore, feels that the information sought by the appellant needs to be given by the PIO and directs the PIO to give the information to the appellant within 30 days, free of cost, as per 7(6) of the RTI Act.”
Significantly, Rajagopalan’s order comes two years after he filed an appeal with the CIC’s office against the Gujarat High Court’s rejection of a request for information. Rapagopalan’s order admits, “The appellant approached the commission vide his representation dated August 1, 2012 under section 19 of the RTI Act against the decision of the first appellate authority on his application dated June 22, 2012 seeking information under section 6 of the RTI Act.”
The order in favour of Gupta was passed despite the fact that, according to Rajagopalan, during the hearing before him, “neither the appellant nor the representative of the public authority remained present.” His earlier appeal against the Gujarat High Court, he was told to his utter dismay, could not be found was “lost”, forcing Gupta to make another appeal.
Gupta said, following his repeated attempt to find the file which contained his request, the officials under the CIC “finally they found out the file and fixed date of hearing on May 6, 2014.” He added, this happened after a he filed a complaint filed on December 5, 2013, for which he got the letter of hearing. “Appeal was filed against High Court of Gujarat on August 8, 2012... Pathetic working of Gujarat State Information Commission”, he said.
This is the second major order by Rapagopalan against the Gujarat High Court’s PIO's refusal to part with information sought by a citizen (read HERE). On November 12, 2013, Rajagopalan had asked the PIO and the appellate authority, who happens to be registrar, Gujarat High Court, to provide information regarding the number of leaves given to the court’s judges, as sought by an applicant. Social activist Indukumar Jani had sought information regarding judges’ leaves in 2010, arguing that people coming from far off areas, especially the tribal belt, often find that judges are not available on the date of hearing.
Jani was denied information citing Gujarat High Court rules for the right to information (RTI) Act, saying that anything that is not in "public domain" was exempted from granting information under the RTI. Rejecting the argument, in his ruling, Rajagopalan said, the officials of the High Court cannot act under their own RTI rules, which contradict the RTI Act. The rules of any organization are meant to the procedure to provide information works in well-oiled fashion. They cannot override provisions of the RTI Act.

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.