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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Only retired judges may head RTI commissions, says Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday edged out "eminent people" from heading commissions under the Right to Information Act by ordering that only sitting or retired chief justices of high courts and SC judges would be appointed as chief information commissioners at both the Centre and the states.

In addition, sitting or retired HC judges should be preferred in appointment of information commissioners, it said, faulting the vague criteria for such appointments provided under the RTI Act.

The bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar may have boosted post-retirement opportunities for HC and SC judges by ruling that the information commissions were "judicial tribunals" performing functions of "judicial" and "quasi-judicial" nature and had trappings of a court and should be headed by a judicial mind.

The gain for retired judges would be at the cost of former officials. The Act prescribes appointment of information commissioners from among persons of eminence in public life and those with wide knowledge and experience in the fields specified under the legislation. 
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