Friday, August 3, 2012

Art 74 vs RTI : Letters between President and PM cannot be disclosed

  1. What is the case?
  2. What did Delhi HC say?
  3. Questions for UPSC IAS GS Mains Paper 1

What is the case?

Using Right to information act, one Mr.C Ramesh had sought all the letters sent by President Narayanan to Prime Minister AB Vajpayee relating to Gujarat riots of 2002.
In 2006, Chief Information Commissioner had asked the union government to disclose those letter.

But The union government had filed an appeal against this CIC order, in Delhi High court.
Union Government's argument is that under Articles 74 and 78 of the Constitution,  any advice tendered by the Union council of ministers or correspondence exchanged between the president and the prime minister enjoyed immunity from public scrutiny.

What did Delhi HC say?

  1. Article 74(2) of the Constitution bars the disclosure of the advice given by the Council of Ministers to the President.
  2. Article 74(2) of the Constitution cannot be made subservient to the RTI Act as the same could not have been the intention of the legislature and even if it was, the same cannot come in effect without amending the Constitution.
  3. Only the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts had the power to call for such material (the communications), to peruse them, under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution.
  4. But CIC cannot claim parity with the judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts
  5. Therefore, CIC cannot direct the Union to produce the correspondence between the President and the Prime Minister.

Questions for UPSC IAS GS Mains Paper 1

  1. Why were art 74 and 78 been in news recently?
  2. What are the powers given to SC and HC under Art 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India.
  3. (Interview) what is your take on Art 74 vs RTI?
  4. (interview) Can the parliament amend 74(2)? AnsYes it can, because #74(2) is not part of the "Basic structure" of the Constitution.
  5. (interview) Give examples of some Public Organizations excluded from RTI? Are you in favor of it, given all the allegations of corruption in every department?

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