Punjab and Haryana HC stays order on plea seeking info on complaints against judges
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIO), New Delhi, which had directed the court’s public information officer (PIO) to furnish data regarding complaints received and disposed of against judges of the high court. The court was hearing a petition filed by the joint registrar and PIO of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
“Till the next date of hearing, operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed,” the bench of Justice Mahabir Singh Sindhu said on July 5, issuing notice to the CIO for August 10.
The joint registrar and PIO of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had filed a petition against a February 8 CIO order under the Right to Information Act, 2005, wherein the non-disclosure of information by the petitioner in an order dated September 3, 2019, and the first appellate authority under the Act in an order dated October 1, 2019, was held to be legally untenable. This was related to a specific query in an RTI application dated August 5, 2019. The PIO was directed to supply the information in a time-bound manner.
On August 5, 2019, Manish Vashisht, an advocate at Narnaul, Haryana, filed an application before the PIO, seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005, on complaints received since 2009 against the judges of the Haryana lower courts, Punjab lower courts and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Vashisht sought details like the number of receipts, the status of the complaints, the action taken, and the time limit to decide a complaint.
According to the petitioner, in a reply dated September 3, 2019, the points where information was not supplied were duly explained to Vashisht. However, he filed an appeal dated September 17, 2019 under the RTI Act, which was taken up by the first appellate authority of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
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