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Publish impugned orders on website: CIC to Madras HC

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Madras High Court to ensure that impugned orders of lower courts and tribunals be made available on its web site.
Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur said the public disclosure of lower court and tribunals orders was in "larger public interest" as it could help the general public, litigants and stakeholders in linking orders of the High Court with impugned or challenged orders.
The case pertained to activist R K Jain who had approached the Commission with a plea that several orders of the High Court and details of impugned orders had not been uploaded on the website.
Jain said under provisions of section 4 of the RTI Act, details of impugned orders were required to be disclosed by each public authority, including the High court.
Section four of the RTI Act stated the respondent was required to upload the class of information and not post orders in a "pick and choose" manner, he said.
A Madras High Court official said that before June 2014, under directions of the court, only those judgments which were specifically indicated or instructed for uploading were put up on the website.
Jain told the commission the information he sought for from 2012 to 2014 was not available on their website.
The official said the judicial records were not required to be uploaded on the website under 'suo motu' disclosures as per section four of the RTI Act.
A third party may take a certified copy of a judicial record by following the procedure laid down in the Rules of High Court of Madras, Appellate side, 1965, and not under the RTI Act, he said.
He submitted that if the sought for information was ordered to be provided, it would amount to directing the public authority to collate and collect the information from each file and then provide the information to the appellant.
This would divert the resources of the public authority disproportionately, he said.
Chief Information Commissioner Mathur said the appellant was not seeking a certified copy of impugned orders of the lower courts and wanted only details of the impugned orders which he stated should also have been made available on the website of the High Court in larger public interest.
"Hence, Rules of High Court of Madras, Appellate Side, 1965, would not come in the picture in providing the sought for information," he said.

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