GOA GOVERNOR’S PLEA AGAINST RTI: ADJOURNED TO 14TH JULY

PANJIM: A Division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice F.M.Reis today adjourned to tomorrow 14th July the hearing on Goa Raj Bhavan’s petition against the Right to Information Act. When the matter came up for hearing today Advocate General Subodh Kantak submitted before the Court that he was not ready to argue the matter today and sought that the matter be heard tomorrow.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues today drew the attention of the Court that Advocate General Subodh Kantak had at the last two hearings misled the Court that the Solicitor General of India Mr. Gopal Subramaniam was going to appear in the matter.
Drawing the attention of the Court that the Government notification appointing Solicitor General of India Mr. Gopal Subramaniam was to solely appear on behalf of the Governor of Goa, Adv. Rodrigues pointed out to the Court that the Governor of Goa was not a party to the petition and that it was the Public Information Officer at the Goa Raj Bhavan that had filed the petition against the RTI Act.
Meanwhile, as the beleaguered Solicitor General of India Mr. Gopal Subramaniam who was scheduled to arrive by the Kingfisher Flight IT 131 via Mumbai this morning cancelled his visit to Goa, the Raj Bhaavn will now be represented by Advocate Mahesh Sonak in the case against Adv. Aires Rodrigues while Advocate General Subodh Kantak will defend the Raj Bhavan in another petition that was filed after denying information under RTI in 2008 to the Leader of Opposition Mr. Manohar Parrikar.
Special Secretary to the Governor Dr. N. Radhakrishnan 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.
With even the President of India complying with the RTI Act, 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.

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