Centre asks SC to review info panel order
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ASSERTING that the court cannot issue directions to the legislature to amend an act or rules and that it is the responsibility of Parliament, the Centre Thursday asked the Supreme Court to review its verdict on amending the RTI Act to ensure "only" serving and retired judges of the apex court and chief justices of high courts could head the central and state information commissions.
The review petition, citing the apex court's verdict, said the only situation in which the court could issue directions was when an act or rule is silent on a subject. "That is not the case here. Section 12(5) and 15(5) of the act clearly lay down the norms relating to qualifications of the chief information commissioner and information commissioners at the Centre and at the state level respectively. Various directions given by this hon'ble court in the impugned judgment are contrary to the provisions of the RTI Act," the petition said.
Claiming that the September 13 judgment "sought to complicate a simple statute," it said that certain directions were in violation of provisions of the RTI Act, thus damaging the smooth functioning of the act.
"These contrary directions have the potential to create disarray in the functioning of the central and state information commissions. Such directions amount to a clear error apparent on the face of the record, being in absolute disregard of the provisions of the act," said the petition, drafted by counsel Anoopam N Prasad, for the Department of Personnel and Training.
The petition referred to the RTI Act, according to which the chief information commissioner and a information commissioner can hold office for a five-year term until he or she turns 65 years. However, the court's verdict said that only a serving or retired Supreme Court judge or HC chief justice could head a info panel.
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