Monday, February 08, 2010

RTI won't change for judges

Faced with an aggressive opposition, the UPA government on Monday decided to drop its proposal to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act to keep the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) out of its ambit. "We are not contemplating any such amendment," said Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, contradicting his earlier statement that the government was mulling changes in the transparency law. On January 31, the minister had said: "A proposal is being contemplated. It is in comparison to other judiciaries in the world. But it has nothing to do with the Delhi High Court judgment. It is independent of it." Moily's volte-face followed the BJP-led NDA and the Left parties' threat to veto the government's move to make changes in the RTI Act, reportedly sought by CJI K.G. Balakrishnan. The government needs some support from the opposition to make an amendment since it does not enjoy a majority in the Rajya Sabha. "Only when such matters are placed in the public domain will the collegium be forced to record cogent reasons for appointment. It would act as an effective deterrent against wrongful appointments," said Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha.


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