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SC recalls verdict on CIC selection

Admitting that it committed a ‘mistake of law’, the Supreme Court on Tuesday recalled its own order, which had directed that only sitting or retired high court chief justices or an apex court judge could head the central and state information commissions.

‘It was mistake of law. We recall the directions,’ a bench of justices A K Patnaik and A K Sikri said while reading out the operative portion of its judgement on a petition filed by the Centre seeking review of its order of 13 September, last year.

The apex court had given a slew of directions pertaining to appointment of information commissioners in its order last year.

The Centre had sought review of the apex court’s verdict, saying it is against the provisions of the transparency law.

The apex court, in its judgement last year, had said that like other quasi judicial bodies, people from judicial background be also appointed as members of the central and state information commissions and this should be done after consulting the CJI and chief justices of the respective high courts.

The court had directed the government to amend RTI Act for it. ‘Chief Information Commissioner at the Centre or state level shall only be a person who is or has been a chief justice of the high court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India,’ the court had said.

The bench had passed the order on a PIL challenging section 12 and 15 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, enumerating the qualifications needed for the appointment of members of the commissions.

The bench had, however, refused to quash the sections but asked the government to modify them so that people from judicial background are also preferred for the posts.
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