Delhi High Court stayed the order to bring the AG of India under RTI

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Delhi High court stayed the earlier decision of single judge to bring the Attorney General of India’s office falling under the ambit of Right to Information Act till April 24, 2015. When the Centre approached the court challenging the March 10 order of Justice VibhuBakhru,Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw told that the single judge’s findings “require consideration” and further said that it has to be stayed if not the purpose will not be served and has listed the said matter for hearing on April 27, 2015. RTI activists Subhash Agarwal and R K Jain had demanded that the office of the AG must be brought under the transparency law.

Order of Justice VibhuBakhru would make the office of the top law officer answerable to the public as he had said that AGI was a constitutional functionary and that role is not limited to just acting as a lawyer of the government of India and thus Central Government had challenged the said order. Court’s interim order was passed as the government/Ministry had contended that the top law officer performed public functions and his appointment was governed by the constitution. The Law ministry/government in its appeal argued that the AG is not a “public authority” as defined under the Act where Section 2(h) of the Act defines ‘public authority’. They further stated that the single judge had erred in covering the ambit of transparency law to AG. The advocate representing RTI Activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal opposed the Ministry’s request to stay the decision stating that it was “a clear-cut and well-thought decision”.

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Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain who appeared for the government said that AG’s position is unique and he was a lawyer for government and renders sensitive legal opinion on matters of policy. Single judge previously had not accepted to consider the government’s argument that there was a very much practical difficulty in providing information under the Act since AG office does not have necessary infrastructure.

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by Sushma Javare.