New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) With the support of well-known lawyer and social activist Prashant Bhushan, Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who also holds the Guinness World Records for having written the most published letters to newspaper editors, had approached the Delhi High Court to bring Chief Justice of India (CJI) under the ambit of transparency law RTI.
Delhi-based RTI activist Agrawal has used RTI laws as a tool to fight corruption. After getting support of advocate Bhushan, who is recognised for filing public suits, Agrawal has moved Central Information Commission (CIC) seeking transparency in the judiciary.
Impressed with the arguments, CIC, in 2009, allowed his plea but Secretary General of the Supreme Court moved the High Court challenging the CIC’s order. Subsequently, a single-judge bench of Delhi High Court upheld the CIC’s order.
The Secretary General of the apex court and its Central Public Information officer challenged the order and the matter was referred to a full bench of Delhi High Court. The full bench, in January 2010, headed by then Chief Justice A.P. Shah, Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice S. Muralidhar dismissed the appeal of the apex court which had vehemently opposed bringing CJI’s office within the purview of the RTI Act.
Prashant Bhushan, who is son of Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan, was a member of the faction of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement and supported anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare in his campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill. He later joined Aam Aadmi Party but with differences with party leadership, he left the party in 2015 levelling several allegations against the party’s functioning and its deviation from the core ideology.
Prashnat Bhushan has filed various public suits in the Supreme Court and exposed various scams, including the coal block allocation case.
Agrawal, who has also used RTI as a tool to fight corruption, has approached Bhushan to argue on behalf of his plea seeking transparency in judiciary.
Agrawal has done his schooling in Delhi and graduated from Delhi College of Engineering. Agrawal’s dreams of becoming an IAS officer were crushed by his uncle, who forced him to join family business.
Prashant Bhushan, representing Agrawal, had contended in the apex court the top court should not judge its own cause and insisted that the judiciary should not object to divulging the information, as the judges “do not exist in different universe”, and instead support transparency. He has also insisted the judiciary is not free from “public scrutiny”. He had also pointed out at the deliberations of the Supreme Court Collegium to be brought under the RTI on a case-to-case basis keeping in mind public interest.
After hearing his submission, the top court reserved its order on April 4.