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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dismissed: Case for Transparency in CIC Selection in Delhi HC

Friends, our case for Transparent Selection of Central Information Commissioners was heard today in Delhi High Court, and it was dismissed. We were represented by eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who offered various arguments for our case to be admitted – violation of Section 12(5) and Constitution Article 16, transparent ways of making CIC appointments followed in other countries like Indonesia, relevant Supreme court verdicts etc etc.

The court dismissed the case because:

(a) It opined that “Selection” of CIC was different from “Appointment”. If it was an appointment, then all our arguments would have been valid, but as it was a selection, it was solely within the discretionary powers of the Selection Committee, and the court could have no say in the matter.

(b) As such, the court felt that it need not look into the credentials of the present CICs, who were predominantly DOPT secretaries, government spokespersons etc.

(c) The court agreed that our cause i.e. transparency of CIC selections, was basically good, but it felt that it could not enter into this matter and issue any writ.

On these grounds, our case was dismissed.

What next? We intend to go in appeal to Supreme Court, fully aware that our chances of getting this order overturned are slim. We will do this because, as the saying goes, “We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

For this, we shall await the Speaking Order of the court, which will hopefully be detailed as to its reasoning. Advocate Rasheed Qureshi, who is handling the nitty-gritties of our case, informs us that this order may take 10 days.

When we go in appeal, we cannot add any fresh material or arguments to our case. The case will be decided based on whatever arguments we have advanced before the High Court so far.

Advocate Rasheed will send us a more detailed blow-by-blow account by evening. I shall email that to you at the earliest.

Warm Regards,


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