Is RTI Act applicable to the Office of Governor? Supreme Court to decide
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Is RTI Act applicable to the Office of Governor? Supreme Court to decide

Shruti Mahajan

Is the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) applicable to the Officer of Governor? The Supreme Court has transferred a petition concerning this question, from the Bombay High Court to itself.

The petition which was pending before the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court relates to the amenability of the Governor’s Office to the RTI Act and was before a Single Judge Bench. However, a transfer petition was filed before the Supreme Court by the Governor’s office leading to the adjournment of the hearing in the High Court.

The Supreme Court Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta noted that the issues raised in the petition are pertinent and it would be appropriate if the Supreme Court hears the matter. Hence, it ordered the transfer of the case from Bombay High Court to itself.

‘Having regard to the circumstances which have been set out above, we are of the view that it would be appropriate and proper if the writ petition pending before the Bombay High Court is transferred to this Court. We order accordingly.”

Earlier, a Special Leave petition of similar nature was filed before the Supreme Court in December 2011. Not only were the issues framed in that case but the Court had also sought the assistance of the Attorney General in March 2012 considering the significance of the issues involved.

The case involved questions including whether the Governor is a “public authority” under the scope of the RTI Act and whether the Governor is a sovereign that no direction for disclosure of information can be issued against his office.

That petition was filed against the judgment of the Bombay High Court involving the same question. However, the same was subsequently rendered infructuous and the Supreme Court had passed an order disposing of the petition while keeping the question of law involved, open.

The present petition revives those questions of law.

The Governor of Goa was represented by Advocate Rishabh Sancheti while the Second Respondent in the case was represented by Advocate Vipin Kumar Jai.

Read the Order:

Secretary-to-Governor-Goa-vs-Chief-Information-Commissioner.pdf
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