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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CIC Selection PIL is not yet heard: TOI mis-reported Judges’ questions during hearing for admission

Dear fellow activists, Relax! Stop worrying! We haven’t lost our PIL against arbitrary selection of CICs. In fact, it hasn’t even begun. The report in Times of India wrongly suggests that the Chief Justice already gave an adverse order while dismissing our PIL. That is emphatically not the case!

The fact is that our PIL was very briefly heard for admission by Delhi High Court yesterday. In fact, it was not even properly heard; the main hearing is scheduled for 18th November, where we will be represented by well-known lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

Below is Advocate A Rasheed Qureshi’s detailed report of Chief Justice’s questions and his answers:

In the first call (10.45 AM), I mentioned that I was seeking a passover as Mr Prashant Bhushan was to appear in my matter. The Chief justice remarked that our matter was premature as the new CCIC had not yet been appointed. I said that our matter was not about canvassing for any particular person X,Y or Z to be made the CCIC. If that was the case it would surely be premature, because then we must wait to see who is made the CCIC, and then move the court. In the present case, we were saying that the 3-member selection group was acting without any guidelines, criteria, rules etc and hence was violative of the Constitution. Acting in a void, without administrative guidelines, meant that they could pick and choose any one of their choice to the detriment of the public at large.

I stressed that all that I was asking was that there must be administrative guidelines, some criteria and the process must be generally known through Rules under the RTI Act. In the absence of this, there was likelihood of persons being selected who had conflict of interest qua their duties under the Post held and the appointing class of persons i.e. politicians.

At this, the CJ asked, "Do you say that bureaucrats must not be appointed?" I said, No, I don’t say that either. All I say is that the Act contemplates that People of eminence in law, social activism etc. PLUS those in administration and governance. So people from other categories also must be considered for the post of CCIC. Also, this must be done keeping in mind that bureaucrats are likely to have a conflict of interest in discharge of duty. CIC’s work is a quasi judicial work which requires decision-making, and sometime hard decision need to be taken.

This Act is in a nascent stage in India while other countries like Australia, UK & Canada have already evolved Best Practices in this field which we need to incorporate. Advertising this post is one good way, though not the only way, to make it transparent.

The Court asked if I was challenging the RTI Act. I said, No.

The matter is adjourned to 18th November. That gives us 9 days to prepare with more case laws.

Warm Regards,


98215 88114
Courtesy: [rti4empowerment]

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