No intention to interfere in legislative powers: SC

Underlining that it had not meddled with the legislative powers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the State and its authorities were working with a "mental block" over its verdict on appointment of judicial persons as information commissioners.

A Bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar observed that its September verdict had not touched upon the powers of the legislature to appoint members to the central and state information commissions. "We have only said that whenever a judicial member is to be appointed, you (government) consult the Chief Justice of India or Chief Justice of the High Court concerned, as the case may be. And then your consultation process can go on as per your own legislation. You are working with a mental block," said the Bench while hearing a review petition, preferred by the Centre against its verdict.

Some other parties like the Rajasthan government, former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi and RTI activist Aruna Roy have also impleaded themselves in the case.

Hearing Rajasthan government's arguments against the verdict on the court's alleged attempt to legislate by this judgment, the Bench said the Centre took three months to file a review plea while they could have also amended the legislation in the meantime.

While ruling that "only" serving and retired judges of the apex court and chief justices of high courts can head the central and state information commissions, the Bench had directed the Centre to amend the RTI Act in this regard.

"What makes you think that we have taken it upon ourselves to legislate? We have said in the judgment that thee pro-term measures shall act till the time the government frames a legislation. So we have left it on the legislature only," it said.

The "moot question", the court said, was to ensure complete independence of the information commissioners as well as guaranteeing protection of fundamental rights of the citizens by striking a balance between RTI on one hand and right to privacy etc on the other.

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