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Cabinet papers cannot be withheld from public, says CIC

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Law Ministry to disclose the Cabinet note about the decision to establish a National Judicial Appointments Commission, saying that such documents are not secret and should thus be made public.

Hearing a plea by one SN Shukla, who had sought a copy of the NJAC Bill as cleared by the Cabinet along with the Cabinet note of last year, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said that after the central group of ministers has taken a decision, the notings cannot be withheld on the pretext that the Bill had not become an Act.

Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee on December 31, 2014, has given his assent to two Bills — the NJAC Bill, 2014, and the Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Law Ministry has submitted to Central Information Commission that the noting was not shared as, at the time of filing of the Right to Information plea, the Bill had not attained finality while, in the meantime, the government had changed. So, there was no substance in providing the same, the ministry said.

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