Delhi High Court: The Court set aside an earlier order of the Central Information Commission declaring ministers in the Union government and all State Governments as public authorities under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu had also recommended in his decision that the ministers should be given an official website for suo motu disclosure of information under the Right to Information Act and also said that ‘oath of secrecy’ should be replaced with ‘oath of transparency’. The order passed on 12th March, 2016 had also asked the Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretary of all States and Union Territories (with Legislative Assembly) and the Principal Secretary to the Minister of Law & Justice to file a compliance report within three months. Accordingly, the case was brought before the Hon’ble High Court.
Setting aside the order, the Single Judge Bench of Vibhu Bakhru,J. held that, “…there was no occasion for the CIC to enter upon the question as to whether a Minister is a ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the Act.” It also said that since the CIC has no jurisdiction whatsoever to decide upon this matter, its order is set aside. [Union of India v. Central Information Commission, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 12144, order dated 23.11.2017]