A QUEER CASE OF ‘LAW MAKER PROPOSES AND SUBORDINATE JUDICIARY DISPOSES’
Nagpur:RTI Act an empowering law was introduced to put a check on the arbitrary conduct of Public Servants – Judiciary too was no exception. Apex Court in its wisdom, emphasising the significance of Transparency in Judicial Functions metaphorically stated, ‘Sunlight the best disinfectant’. Unfortunately subordinate judiciary of Nagpur District Court think’s otherwise or consider themselves beyond the authority of Superior Courts.A complaint came to be filed with the Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra & Hon’bleBombay High Court against Sh. VB Kulkarni District Judge-1 Nagpur for rejecting a first appeal under the RTI Act, in a manner designed unprecedentedof.
The Cr. Appeal came to be transferred to a different judge, under the orders of Sh. AJ Mantri. Adv. Partho Sarkar filed application under RTI Act, seeking the entire information concerning the transfer; the PIO provided all documents except for a letter by Sh. Ali to Sh. Mantri; having been provided only part information/documents, Adv. Sarkar preferred an appeal under the RTI Act, which came up before Ld. District Judge Sh. VB Kulkarni, the contentions raised before him were, the PIO refused information which are within the meaning of Sec-408 (2) of Cr PC &a public document under Sec-74 of The Evidence Act, hence could not have been denied. Also Sh. Kulkarni, was cited the binding precedents of Mangla Ram Jat V/s CPIO, ruled therein, refusal of information has to be within the grounds under Sec-8 (1) or Sec-9 or Sec- 3 of the RTI Act. The relevant provisions of the RTI Act, was argued in detail. Sh. Kulkarnihowever in rejecting the Appeal treaded into a dangerous course ofunprecedented judicial disorderliness rather outright contempt of Superior Court in completely ignoring the binding precedents in his rejection and visioning,an inconceivable fantasy of supposition – that the document refused was never sought for in the original application under the RTI Act (though entire set of documents were sought)- an entry level judicial officer perhaps too wouldn’t have acted so, in expectingan information seeker to be a magician to have known beforehand what are the documents in the file of the Court and out of them which of the documents PIO will refuse, though entire proceedings were demanded under the RTI Act. Sh. Kulkarni compounds the martyring of RTI Act–wherein he terms contents of documents covered under Section 408 of Cr PC & Section 74 of Evidence act as covered under fiduciary relationship – High time to remind Sh. Kulkarnithe command of the Hon’ble Apex Court - A judge is not a knight errant, to pursue his personal rule, but has to act within the constricted principles of law.