HC DIRECTS ADDITIONAL SOLICITOR GENERAL TO FILE AFFIDAVIT IN GOVERNOR’S PLEA AGAINST RTI

A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice F.M.Reis today directed the Additional Solicitor General of India Mr. Vivek Tankha to file an affidavit to the effect that the President of India, Governor and the Speaker do not have any executive powers or duties to comply with.
The High Court direction came after the Additional Solicitor General Mr. Vivek Tankha while appearing on behalf of Goa Raj Bhavan today argued that the President of India, Governor, Speaker and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court & High Courts do not come within the purview of the Right to Information Act.
While making it clear that the Court does not intend to keep this petition pending the Division Bench stated that it would fix the next date of hearing soon.
Pleading that the petition against the RTI Act filed by Goa Raj Bhavan be disposed as soon as possible, Adv. Aires Rodrigues drew the attention of the Court that the RTI Act had been grounded for the last three years in the State as far as the Governor of Goa is concerned.
Submitting to the Court that even the President of India was complying with the RTI Act, Adv. Aires Rodrigues told the Court that Dr. S.S.Sidhu is India’s only Governor to have taken a stand that he is not a “Public Authority” and has refused to comply with the RTI Act.
Special Secretary to the Governor Dr. N. Radhakrishnan in his petition before the High Court has challenged the 31st March order of the Goa State Information commission which had directed the Raj Bhavan to furnish Adv. Aires Rodrigues the information sought by him under the Right to Information Act.
The Goa Raj Bhavan has in its petition contended that the Governor not being a “Public Authority” does not come within the purview of the RTI Act. The Raj Bhavan has also further contended that the Goa State Information Commission has not been properly constituted and that the State Chief Information Commissioner could not have heard matters in the absence of another Information Commissioner.
The State Chief Information Commissioner Mr. Motilal Keny in his order had ruled that the Goa Governor was a “Public Authority” and does come within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues’s complaint against Goa Governor Dr. Sidhu follows the stand taken by the Goa Raj Bhavan that the Governor was not a public authority and did not come within the purview of the RTI Act.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues had sought from Goa Raj Bhavan under the RTI Act details of action taken on his complaints to the Governor of Goa against the Advocate General of Goa Mr. Subodh Kantak. Adv. Rodrigues had also sought copies of noting sheets and correspondence pertaining to the processing of his complaints against the Advocate General.

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