HIGH COURT TO HEAR ON 16TH AUGUST GOA GOVERNOR’S PLEA AGAINST RTI

PANJIM: The Bombay High Court at Goa has directed that the hearing on Goa Raj Bhavan’s petition against the RTI Act will continue on August 16th. With Dr. S.S.Sidhu being the only Governor to challenge the RTI Act, the issue whether the Governor is a “Public Authority” is being raised before a High Court for the first time.
The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice F.M.Reis has already directed the Additional Solicitor General of India Mr. Vivek Tankha to file an affidavit to the effect that the President of India, Governor and Speaker do not have any executive powers or duties to comply with.
The Additional Solicitor General Mr. Vivek Tankha while appearing on behalf of Goa Raj Bhavan had argued before the High Court that the President of India, Governor, Speaker and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court & High Courts do not come within the purview of the Right to Information Act.
The stand taken by the Additional Solicitor General is despite the Rashtrapati Bhavan, all other Raj Bhavans, the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the Supreme Court and High Courts all complying with the RTI Act and none of them having yet thrown a legal challenge that they are not a “Public Authority”.
Special Secretary to the Goa 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 Goa 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 as the Goa 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. S. S. 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 by the Governor on his complaints 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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