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Online RTI Portal of Supreme Court

Supreme Court Launched Online RTI Portal Status

About SC Online RTI Portal

The online RTI Portal has been initiated to make it convenient for the citizens of India to access information about the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the Right to Information (RTI) applications at the Supreme Court had to be filed only via post.

It was introduced by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India.

 

Supreme Court Launched Online RTI Portal Details

  • The facility of filing online RTI applications is open only to Indian Citizens.
  • The fee per RTI application is Rs 10. Any applicant who is Below Poverty Line (BPL) is exempted to pay the application fee under the RTI Rules, 2012.
  • Only those who wish to obtain information on the Supreme Court can access the portal and any other information from public authorities can be done through the respective Central/State government portal.
  • It is mandatory to provide address proof while submitting RTI application.
  • Response time: By law, RTIs must be replied to within 30 days. In fact, in life and death cases, RTIs must be responded to within 48 hours.

 

What is the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India

About

  • The e-Committee is the governing body charged with overseeing the ‘e-Courts Project’ conceptualized under the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary-2005”.
  • Former Chief Justice of India, Justice R.C. Lahoti proposed the constitution of the e-Committee.

Aim

  • To prepare Indian judiciary for the digital age and to make the justice delivery system more efficient and thus benefitting its various stakeholders.

Chairperson

Objectives

The e-Committee is guided by these objectives:

  • Interlinking of all courts across the country
  • ICT enablement of the Indian judicial system
  • Enabling courts to enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively and quantitatively
  • To make the justice delivery system accessible, cost-effective, transparent and accountable.

Read about: Supreme Court Vacation

Important Initiatives by the e-committee

  • E-Courts services mobile application: Case status, cause lists, Court orders can be accessed through this mobile app, making these services available 24X7.
  • Virtual courts: It is a concept, aimed at eliminating the presence of litigant or lawyer in the court and for adjudication of cases on a virtual platform.
  • National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG): The portal is a national repository of data relating to cases pending and disposed of in all high courts, district and taluka courts of the country.
  • E-Sewa Kendras: They enable litigants to obtain information with respect to case status and to obtain copies of judgments and orders. These centres also extend assistance in e-filing of cases.

Judiciary Under RTI (Right To Information):

  • Supreme Court Vs Subhash Chandra Agrawal Judgment: A five-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court ruled that that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is a public authority under the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2005. Thus, the office of the CJI will now entertain RTI applications.
    • However the court held that RTI could not be used as a tool of surveillance. Judicial independence had to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency.
  • Pros and Cons of Judiciary under RTI:
Pros Cons
  • It will increase the amount of transparency in judiciary in case of appointment of judges.
  • It will increase accountability of judiciary. Judges can be held accountable for their decisions.
  • It will increase the faith of people if they could also know about judicial working.
  • It will decrease the number of case pendency as judiciary will have to give solid reasons & explanations for it.
  • Corruption will be checked with increasing lucidity.
  • It will compromise independence of judiciary as specified by constitution.
  • It will create extra burden on judiciary as every RTI filed will be answerable by judiciary.
  • It will compromise secrecy & security involved in certain cases. This may prove detrimental for our country.
  • It will increase the political involvement in judiciary.
  • Delay in judicial appointments & transfers as an over conscious approach can be adopted to avoid conflicts.

 

The Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005

Background

  • Right to Information is considered as 5th pillar of democracy.
  • Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and the touchstone for all freedoms to which UN is consecrated – UNGA resolution 1946.
  • The right to information is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution.

Salient features of the RTA Act, 2005

  • Applicable to government at all levels: Central, state, local and bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by government, including NGOs.
  • Suo moto declaration: Every public authority should provide possible suo moto information to the public at regular intervals. Disclosure is the norm secrecy is exception.
  • Rights and obligations under the act:
    • Constitution of CIC (Central Information Commission), SICs (State Information Commissions), Information Officers and Appellate authorities.
    • Suo moto declaration under Section 4.
    • Modernizing record keeping
    • Capacity building and awareness generation
    • Creation of monitoring mechanism
  • Three levels for attaining information: Public information officer (PIO) followed by First Appellate Authority followed by CIC (2nd Appellate Authority).
  • Fixed timelines to provide information:
    • PIOs have to provide information within 30 days in normal cases, 48 hours if it is a matter of life or liberty of a person.
    • First appellate authority within 30 days (45 days in exceptional cases- reason to be given in writing) from the date of filing appeal.
    • SIC/CIC – No time limit for disposal.
  • Information asked: Citizens can ask anything that the government can disclose to the parliament.
  • Penalty: Imposition of penalty for refusal to provide information.
  • Official Secrets Act: Explicitly overridden by RTI and other laws to the extent of inconsistency.
  • Exemptions: Section 8(1) – National security, sovereignty, national eco interest,  relation with foreign states, cabinet and other decision making documents, trade secrets, personal privacy, law enforcement etc.
  • Exclusion: Does not extend to intelligence and security agencies. However, info pertaining to allegations of corruption or human right violations will not be excluded.
  • Disclosure: All categories of exempted info to be disclosed after 20 years with certain exceptions.
  • Political parties: CIC in its 2013 decision has ascertained that Political Parties are also Public Authorities because they fulfill the criteria defined in the RTI Act for a body to be declared as public authority and thus, have now come under RTI.

 

The RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019

Supreme-Court-Online-RTI-Portal
Supreme-Court-Online-RTI-Portal

 

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