A Bombay High Court bench has said that there is an element of confidentiality in the notings by judges of any committee of the HC and they should never be disclosed. The bench ordered in reference to a public information officer’s refusal to disclose the information in an RTI query.
Withholding file notings is, it said, in its view entirely salutary and required for better administration of justice. “The actual material may be disclosed pursuant to an RTI enquiry along with the final decision, but the file notings are only transitory and tentative views and an exchange of views,” the division bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar and Justice GS Patel stated in their order.
The court added, “These should under no circumstances be allowed to be brought into public domain or be made the subject of any controversy. The last thing that is desirable in a litigation is calling into question the candid views on any administrative issue of any judge.”
The bench made these observations in its order on a writ petition filed by the Satara District Bar Association. The association had challenged the approval granted by the Bombay HC for the establishment in Wai, Satara, of the court of an Additional District Judge and a Civil Judge, Senior Division. The HC rejected the petition calling it entirely without substance.