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'No one is above law': Activists

No one is above law: Activists
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New Delhi: Transparency activists on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court's decision to bring the office of the Chief Justice of India under the ambit of the RTI Act, saying the top court has reiterated the established position that "no one is above the law".

They, however, termed as "extremely unfortunate" and "shocking" the top court's remark that RTI cannot be used as a tool of surveillance.

"No one is above the law, particularly those performing public duties," RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd) said.

The verdict has opened so many doors and even lawmakers (members of Parliament, Legislative Assemblies) and others ought to be under the RTI Act, he added.

Majeed Memon, Rajya Sabha member belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said judges are no "holy cows".

"Judges are no 'holy cows'. They are also human beings from amongst us. They are vulnerable to shortcomings. The verdict bringing judges within the ambit of RTI is a great step towards transparency and trust of people in justice system," he said in a tweet. Memon, senior advocate and member of Parliamentary Standing Committee for Personnel, Public Grievances, and Law & Justice, said judges too are now accountable. "The citizens are intelligent to acquire information from any particular court or judge. Any doubts or questions that people have can be addressed. I appreciate this great judgement," he said.

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court held that the office of the Chief Justice of India is a public authority and falls within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

"I welcome the decision of the constitution bench to reiterate the established position in law that the CJI is a public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act," said Venkatesh Nayak, head of access to information programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an NGO.

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