public disclosure Current Affairs - 2019

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SC Verdict: CJI Office under RTI act

On November 13, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 judgement of Delhi High Court that the RTI (Right To Information) act was applicable to the office of CJI (Chief Justice of India) as well.

Key Findings of the Judgement

  • The CJI office and the SC are not two different public authorities. Under Article 124, SC includes office of CJI and the other judges as well
  • The relationship between the CJI and the judges would neither be fiduciary nor be beneficial.
  • The judgement said that under Section 6(2) of the act, the motive of the seeker of information is not a relevant consideration.
  • The Public Information Officer has vast discretion under the RTI act. The PIO should make sure judicial independence and accountability are well maintained as they go hand in hand. It is important for the SC to maintain confidentiality in certain aspects of judicial administration.

Background

In 2010, the CIC (Central Information Commission) ordered the SC CPIOs (Central Public Information Officer) to provide information on personal assets possessed by the judges of SC. The order was challenged at the Delhi HC to which it ruled that SC and CJI have statutory duty to furnish information regarding administration and functioning of the SC.

Appeals were filed to SC on HC verdict in 2010. Though filed in 2010, it was heard and referred to a Constitution bench only in 2016 and the judgement was pronounced now.

Best Practices in Budget Formulation

The Transparency International conducted a survey to analyse the best practices followed by the states in the Budget Formulation.

About the Survey

The survey was based on 4 parameters which include public disclosure, budgetary process, post-budget fiscal management and efforts to make the budget more transparent and citizen-friendly. The findings of the survey are:

  • The top slot in the survey was occupied by Assam.
  • Assam was followed by Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in the ranking of best practices followed by states in the Budget formulation.
  • Meghalaya, Manipur and Punjab figured in the bottom list.
  • The report notes that Assam is the only state out of the 29 states and 2 UTs, which has published a Citizens Budget in the public domain.
  • Also, the government of Assam is the only government that has conducted budget awareness campaigns across 17 districts.

Transparency International

Transparency International is an international non-governmental organization based in Berlin, Germany. Founded in 1993 by a group of individuals who decided to take up a stance against corruption, today from villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. The Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.