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SC stays own order on working of info panels

SC stays own order on working of info panels
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed its direction that only sitting or retired chief justices of high courts or an apex court judge can head the central and state information commissions.

The bench also directed that whenever a Chief Information Commissioner is of the opinion that intricate questions of law have to be decided in a matter, he will ensure the matter is heard by a bench of which at least one member has knowledge and experience in the field of law.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and A K Sikri, however, made it clear that during pendency of the pleas challenging its judgement, authorities can continue to fill up the vacant positions in information commissions in accordance with the Right to Information (RTI) Act and its verdict, except the portion which has been stayed.

The apex court passed the interim order, saying it will be subject to the outcome of the petitions filed by the central government and others seeking review of its verdict on appointment of information commissioners.

The stayed sub paras of the apex court’s 13 September, 2012 judgement had stipulated that information commissions should work in benches of two members and each bench should comprise of a legally trained member, who is to be appointed in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and chief justices of the high courts of states concerned.
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