SC Takes A New Approach To RTI
SC Takes A New Approach To RTI
Supreme Court judgments can be read in two ways: Linearly and instrumentally, purely in terms of consequences or in a hermeneutic sense, as reflections on law and the language of law.
Shiv Visvanathan

Read in the second way, a judgment becomes a choreography of justice, a balancing between words and worlds, search not merely for justice but a reflective meditation on the dynamics of justice.

Landmark judgment The media has read the Supreme Court judgment on the RTI and the courts as an event, claiming it is a landmark judgment, which brings the office of the Chief Justice of India, the fate of life and liberty, under the law.

For these rule of law addicts, the logic is simple. If Supreme Court judgments affect the court itself, it is subject to the rule of law. This is an important point, fundamental to justice and democracy. Yet, as the former Information Commissioner and vintage advocate of RTI, Sailesh Gandhi, pointed out, it took the Supreme Court, 10 years to reach this point. A landmark judgment is welcome even if it is a belated one.

What was obvious to human rights activists took the court a herculean 10 years to reach. The court struggled over the decision whether the assets of the Supreme Court judge, the debates about his appointment were accessible as public information. The court eventually accepted that accountability, autonomy and freedom go together, each word as a ritual of trust adding substantively to the meaning of the other. It is a moment of celebration, when some of the other judgments of the court have cast a pale of gloom or confusion around it.


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November 24, 2019