Right to Information
Info members from judicial background not correct: SC told

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy disagreed with the apex court that persons from judicial background or lawyers with experience of 20 years would better serve as information commissioners as the job requires balancing act

New Delhi: Votaries of transparency law on Friday told the Supreme Court that its direction for appointing people from judicial background as members of the Central and state information commissions was "legally not correct" and would lead to "frustrating" the whole objective of the Right to Information Act (RTI), reports PTI.


Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and transparency activist Aruna Roy disagreed with the apex court that persons from judicial background or lawyers with experience of 20 years would better serve as information commissioners as the job requires balancing act.


"That balance does not mean that there has to be lawyers and judges in the panel. The only thing required is transparent and rational method of selection of information commissioners," their counsel Prashant Bhushan submitted before a bench of justices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.


He further submitted that there was no surety that lawyers and judges would always perform a balancing act in answering queries as "there are lawyers who are quacks and there are judges who are quacks who do not know law."


The bench said it was emphasising on the balancing aspect because there have been several orders in the recent past which were "chaotic".


"Some of these orders are chaotic. There is no balance and they are absolutely chaotic," the bench said.


Bhushan said he along with Gandhi and Roy were actively involved in the drafting of the RTI Act and they are of the view that implementing this particular direction in the 13th September judgement would "frustrate" the purpose of the law.


He said under the RTI Act there can only be 10 bench and if each bench would comprise of two members it will become half and badly affect the functioning of the Central Information Commission in view of the backlog.


"This will frustrate the whole objective of the Act," he said, adding that "this part of judgement (appointment of lawyers or persons with judicial background as members of information panel) is legally not correct," he said.


An NGO, Commonwealth of Human Rights Initiative, through senior advocate MS Ganesh, submitted that information panels cannot be treated as quasi-judicial forums requiring the members to be from the judicial background.


He said the information panels are like administrative panels and people from all backgrounds can be considered.


The Court was hearing the Centre's plea seeking review of its judgement ruling that people from judicial background should also be appointed as members of Central and state information commissions and only sitting or retired chief justices of high courts or a Supreme Court judge can head them.


The Centre had on Thursday contested the view that only loyal bureaucrats are appointed.


Attorney General GE Vahanwati had said no such criteria is followed for these appointments and referred the case of the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai, who was earlier a bureaucrat.


He further submitted that the apex court verdict was wrong as it cannot rewrite a law which is a function of legislative body.


In its 13th September verdict, the apex court had also directed the Centre to amend the RTI Act.


"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, however, had refused to quash the sections but asked the government to modify it so that people from judicial background are also preferred for the post.


Currently, none of the eight members of the Central Information Commission (CIC), including the Chief Information Commissioner, are from judicial background.


The CIC comprises one Chief Information Commissioner and 10 information commissioners.



Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

As a coincidence today Rajya Sabha had a private member bill moved by Noted journalist Mr H K Dua about judicial accountability and transparency about Article 124 and 217 of Indian constitution.Our judiciary is only institution which is immune to any kind of inquiry. All speakers were of view that there is absolutely no accountability in Indian Judiciary.As there is no accountability it is maximum corrupt wing of Indian constitution.Therefore judiciary want to spread its tentacles to every possible field.The main sufferer is COMMON LITIGANT at subordinate courts.The REAL fact is people are frustrated to approach courts to seek justice.You can change doctor if are not satisfied about his ability but you cannot change judge even though you know he is CORRUPT.

Private aircraft up in arms against Mumbai Airport (MIAL)

When MIAL decided to unilaterally increase parking charges, fifty times higher than the usual hourly rate on the general aviation aircrafts in Mumbai, aircraft owners complained to the regulator and got relief

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT) on Friday stayed penal parking charges imposed by the Mumbai International Airport Private Ltd (MIAL) for general aviation aircrafts in Mumbai. The Business Aircrafts Operators Association (BAOA) had filed an application before the Appellate Tribunal seeking interim relief from parking charges levied by MIAL on general aircrafts.

“In the absence of any road-map to address the growing concerns on infrastructure and other facilities for the general aviation industry, the MIAL decided to unilaterally increase and impose parking charges, fifty times higher than the usual hourly parking charges on the general aviation aircrafts in Mumbai. The dispute arose when MIAL unilaterally decided to levy and impose exorbitant parking charges since 1 July 2012, without seeking any approval and sanction from the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA),” BAOA said in a release.

BAOA said it made a detailed representation before the airports regulator challenging the levy of parking charges by MIAL and also held several meetings. However, with MIAL continuing to levy penal parking charges, the Association said, it then filed an application before the AERAAT for seeking urgent intervention and interim relief.

BAOA argued that the parking charges form part of aeronautical services and any increase in tariff to be charged for aeronautical services falls within the jurisdiction of the AERA and the MIAL has imposed the penal charges without taking any approval from the regulator.

After hearing both sides, the AERAAT directed to maintain status quo on parking charges and asked MIAL to levy parking charges for general aircrafts at Mumbai Airport as approved by the AERA. The matter is posted for hearing on 4 January 2013. 

“This has come as a big relief for the general aviation which is already struggling in these tough economic conditions”, said Rohit Kapur, president of the BAOA. He, however, refused to make any further comments to the media, citing that the matter is sub-judice.


BSE Sensex, Nifty indecisive: Friday Closing Report

While the uptrend is not broken, a close below the day’s low may pull down the Nifty further

The market pared all its gains in the second half of trade and settled lower even as the government won the vote in the Rajya Sabha on FDI in retail. Although today the Nifty made a higher high and a higher low the index closed in the negative. While the uptrend is not broken, a close below the day’s low may pull down the Nifty further. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw volume of 87.59 crore shares and an advance decline ratio of 826:940.
The domestic market opened with marginal gains ahead of the crucial vote in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) for allowing FDI in retail. On the global front, US stocks closed higher on Thursday ahead of the release of the monthly jobs report and a boost in technology stocks. The Asian pack was mostly higher on hopes that the US government would avoid additional taxes and spending cuts.
The Nifty opened three points higher at 5,934 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,515, up 28 points over its previous close. Gains in auto, metal, consumer durables and capital goods stocks led the benchmarks to their intraday highs in early trade. At the highs, the Nifty rose to 5,950 and the Sensex climbed to 19,562.
However, the indices could not sustain the gains and dipped into the negative a short while later. The cautious market was flat to positive in the remaining part of the morning session. 
A huge bout of selling in noon trade pushed the indices into the red once again. Selling in IT, realty, metal and banking sectors kept the market in the negative, despite a positive opening of the key European markets.
Meanwhile, the animated debate on FDI in the Rajya Sabha today saw clashes between the government and the opposition, which accused commerce minister Anand Sharma of misleading the House and demanded an apology. The uproar led to abrupt adjournment of the House for over an hour, while the minister was speaking on the motion moved against bringing FDI in retail sector.  
The benchmarks fell to their intraday lows in the last half hour of trade dragged by a sell-off in IT stocks. At the lows, the Nifty touched 5,889 and the Sensex dropped to 19,363.
However, the indices managed to close off the lows, albeit in the red. The Nifty closed 24 points (0.40%) lower at 5,907 and the Sensex lost 63 points (0.32%) to finish at 19,424.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index shed 0.08% and the BSE Small-cap index slipped 0.10%.
With the exception of the BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.53%) and BSE Auto (up 0.51%), all other sectoral gauges settled lower. The top losers were Realty (down 1.68%); BSE IT (down 0.98%); BSE TECk (down 0.96%); BSE Metal (down 0.77%) and BSE Bankex (down 0.52%). 
Eleven of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The main gainers were Maruti Suzuki (up 1.94%); Tata Power (up 0.87%); BHEL (up 0.77%); Mahindra & Mahindra (up 0.74%) and Hindalco Industries (up 0.69%). The key losers were Sterlite Industries (down 2.25%); Tata Steel (down 1.19%); TCS (down 1.13%); Reliance Industries (down 0.89%) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 0.85%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Gitanjali Gems (up 8.92%) and Motherson Sumi (up 6.96%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Hexaware Technologies (down 9.30%) and Eicher Motors (down 3.78%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Revathi Equipment (up 19.98%) and Shirpur Gold Refinery (up 19.96%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Bhanot Construction & Housing (down 19.95%) and Marg (down 13.44%).
Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 13 stocks settled in the positive. The major gainers were Maruti Suzuki (up 1.83%); M&M (up 0.99%); Tata Power (up 0.92%); Jaiprakash Associates (up 0.91%) and Lupin (up 0.87%). The key losers were DLF (down 3.24%); Axis Bank (down 2.95%); Sesa Goa (down 2.55%); HCL Tech (down 2.01%) and Tata Steel (down 1.75%).
Markets in Asia settled mostly higher as hopes of a budget deal which would lead to avoidance of new taxes in the US boosted exporters in the continent. Signs of a recovery in the Chinese economy also supported the sentiments.
The Shanghai Composite surged 1.60%; the KLSE Composite added 0.10%; the Straits Times climbed 0.94%; the Seoul Composite gained 0.40% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.25%. On the other hand, the Hang Seng declined 0.26%; the Jakarta Composite slipped 0.04% and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.19%.
At the time of writing, the European indices which had opened in the positive were trading lower and the US stock futures were marginally lower.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs838.14 crore on Thursday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs662.74 crore. 
Shree Ganesh Jewellery House, makers and exporters, of handcrafted gold and studded jewellery, today said it has set up joint venture (JV) with Bangladesh’s Rocks Creation. The initial investment for this 75:25 JV, which is yet to be named, will be Rs10 crore each by both the companies and in phases it will be scaled to a total of Rs50 crore. Shree Ganesh Jewellery jumped 3.87% to close at Rs124.90 on the NSE.
SKS Microfinance is raising Rs54.48 crore by securitising receivables from 64,579 micro loans extended to rural women, a company statement said today. The announcement comes close on the heels of its Rs200 crore securitisation transaction with a leading public sector bank in November 2012. SKS declined 1.42% to settle at Rs169.95 on the NSE.
Tiles maker Somany Ceramics today said it will invest over Rs100 crore in the next three years for enhancing its production capacities by 10 million square metres annually. The company is looking to form a new joint venture within the next six months for a new facility with an installed capacity of 2.5-3 million square metres annually in Gujarat. The stock surged 2.18% to close at Rs96 on the NSE.



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