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Details Such As Names Of MPs Signatory To Impeachment Motion Exempt From Disclosure Under RTI Act: CIC [Read Order]

akanksha jain
19 May 2019 4:42 AM GMT
Details Such As Names Of MPs Signatory To Impeachment Motion Exempt From Disclosure Under RTI Act: CIC [Read Order]
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Details of MPs who gave the Motion of Impeachment (of Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy of the High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) and who subsequently withdrew their names is exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act as it stands covered under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act, the Central Information Commission has held.

Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava noted that "giving notice of Motion by any Member in the course of discharge of his Parliamentary duties is covered within the meaning and scope of the term 'Proceedings in Parliament'. Hence, disclosure of details of members who gave the Motion and some who subsequently withdrew their names under RTI may open the parliamentary conduct of such Members to public scrutiny".

"Such disclosure may not only indirectly influence the members in discharge of their parliamentary duties but has a tendency to influence their independence in the future performance of their duties, thereby would cause breach of privilege".

The CIC quoted Sir Thomas Erskine May to say that, "Parliamentary privilege is the sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively is a constituent part of the High Court of Parliament ........ and by Members of each House of Parliament individually, without which they cannot discharge their functions."

The Commission said so while deciding the second appeal filed by S Malleswara Rao seeking information on five points pertaining to impeachment motion against Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy, High Court of Hyderabad, in December 2016, including inter-alia (i) total number of Members of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) who had signed and moved the impeachment motion along with their names and copies of the duly signed representations, state-wise, and (ii) total number of Members of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) who withdrew support to the motion later along with their names and copies of the duly signed representations, state-wise.

The Commission, however, directed the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to provide the appellant the relevant extract of the rules/procedure relating to acceptance and withdrawal of motion by MPs.

The appellant had told the Commission that the CPIO, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, had wrongly denied the information regarding the names and state-wise representations given by the members of Rajya Sabha for impeachment and those who later withdrew the motion under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act and contended that the matter has already been published by the newspapers thus, available to the public at large.

Arun Sharma, Director (Coord.) and CPIO, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, submitted that the contents of motion as also the signatories to the Notice of Motion and names of those members who withdrew support to the motion later, etc., were never made public and all concerned documents were in the custody of the Secretary General, Rajya Sabha. Such documents relating to or connected with the proceedings of the House are privileged documents and exempted under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The Commission agreed with the submission that "giving a notice of motion by any member in the course of discharge of his parliamentary duties is covered within the meaning and scope of the term 'Proceedings in Parliament'. Hence, disclosure of details of members who gave the Motion and some who subsequently withdrew their names under the RTI Act may open the parliamentary conduct of such Members to public scrutiny. Such disclosure may not only indirectly influence the members in discharge of their parliamentary duties but has a tendency to influence their independence in the future performance of their duties, thereby would cause breach of privilege". 

Read the Order Here


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