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Delhi High Court dismisses plea seeking details of Supreme Court Collegium meeting of December 12, 2018

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea challenging the Central Information Commission (CIC)’s order against non-disclosure of information pertaining to decisions taken by Supreme Court Collegium in a meeting held on December 12, 2018.

The Court of Justice Yashwant Verma was seized of the plea filed by activist Anjali Bhardwaj.

The backdrop of the case relates to an Right to Information (RTI) application filed in February 2019 by Bhardwaj seeking information on the Supreme Court collegium’s meeting held on December 12, 2018, wherein Justice Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Justice of India, and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, i.e. Justices Madan B. Lokur, A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana purportedly took certain decisions regarding the appointment of judges since the decisions were subsequently overturned and no details were uploaded on the Top Court’s website.

However, the Supreme Court’s Central Public Information Office (CPIO) rejected the said application. 
Thereafter, she moved an appeal before the First Appellate Authority, which was again dismissed. Subsequently, a second appeal was moved before the CIC, wherein the decision regarding denial of information passed by the Appellate Authority was upheld.
Challenging this, Bhardwaj knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court upon being aggrieved by the non-disclosure of the details of the meeting of the collegium.  

In the plea, filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, a reference was made to an interview of retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Lokur, who was a part of the 12 December, 2018 collegium, where the former judge expressed his disappointment that the collegium resolution was not uploaded on the Supreme Court website.   

In light of the above, the plea sought setting aside of the December 16, 2021, order passed by the CIC.
Advocate Bhushan argued that the petitioner is entitled to receive a copy of the agenda for the collegium meeting as well as the decisions taken therein.

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