Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2008/00662 dated 17.4.2008
Right to Information Act 2005 – Section 19

Appellant - Ms Gita Dewan Verma

Respondent - Supreme Court of India (SCI)

Decision announced: 5.10.2009


By an application of 29.2.07 Ms. Gita Dewan Verma of Vasant Kunj New

Delhi applied to CPIO Shri Ashok Kumar, Addl. Registrar, Supreme Court of India seeking the following information:

“Dr. Poonam Prakash has submitted by fax, e-mail, speed post and in person during 15.2.2008 and 18.2.2008 a request dated 15.2.2008 to Deputy Registrar (AG) also on my behalf, Print copy of the e-mail which was jointly sent also to me, is enclosed.
Early intimation of decision on our request has been specifically requested in it. I require the decision to be able to submit a suggestion to the Ministry for compliance with the directions that the Hon’ble Court was pleased to pass on 19.2.2008 and which media has reported.

I request information in terms of Sec. 4(1)(d) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, about the decision on the enclosed request dated 15.2.2008 to Deputy Registrar (AG).”

The E-mail of 15.2.08 referred to a series of issues with a “request to Registry to satisfy itself of legality and propriety of land use change to replace Appu Ghar with purposes of Hon’ble Supreme Court“. This request concluded with the following plea:

“We would be very grateful for early intimation of the decision on our request.”

In his response of 12.3.08 to the RTI application Shri Ashok Kumar informed Ms. Gita Dewan Verma as follows:

“With reference to your application dated 29.2.2008, this is to inform you that no action was called for by the Registry on your e- mail 13.2.2008 as the matter is subjudice.

All the judgments of this Hon’ble Court are available on the Supreme Court website viz. www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in and can be downloaded there from. However, certified copy of the order dated 19.2.2008 of this Hon’ble Court can be obtained under Order XII Supreme Court Rules 1966 on payment of prescribed fee and charges.”

Not satisfied Ms. Verma through her appeal dated 20.3.08 to Appellate Authority Shri M. P. Bardhan, Registrar, Supreme Court of India complained that “CPIO has not provided complete/ specific information of reason” She has in this appeal requested for clarification on how matters which she considers administrative have in fact been held subjudice. In his order of 10.4.08 Appellate Authority Shri M.P. Bardhan has, after some examination, come to the following conclusion:

“On a perusal of the record I find that no information held by the CPIO has been asked by the appellant. The CPIO can only furnish the information as defined in Section 2(f) of the Right to Information Act held by him. On a perusal of the impugned order I find no illegality and the appeal is only to be dismissed.

In the result, the appeal is dismissed.”

Ms. Verma has then moved a second appeal before us with the prayer that the CPIO SCI:

  1. “Provide accurate and complete response to my request in this case, and
  2. publish its procedure for providing information in terms of Section 4(1)(d) about its administrative decision.”

She has, among other grounds, challenged the order of Appellate Authority Shri Bardhan as follows:

“Appellate Authority’s order is flawed because it has in effect rejected my application, which CPIO had replied with the finding that CPIO could not have replied in view of Section 2(f). The logical course would have been to set aside CPIO’s reply and deal with my application. Instead, Appellate Authority set aside my appeal by illogically finding, simultaneously, that CPIO could not have replied and no illegality in CPIO’s reply, whereas Appellate Authority ought to have:
  1. If record of decisions of Deputy Registrar (AG) is not held by CPIO, given appropriate directions for the information to be given to me.
  2. If record of decisions of Deputy Registrar(AG) is held by CPIO addressed my appeal ground that reply was incomplete/ not specific.”

The appeal was heard on 5.10-.09. The following are present:


Ms. Gita Dewan Verma


Mr. Rajpal Arora, CPIO, SCI
Mr. Amit Anand Tiwari, Advocate for CPIO, SCI

Appellant Ms. Verma contended that the procedure regarding which she has made her request was administrative not judicial and, therefore, the matter could not be subjudice. Hence her prayer listed at (b) in her second appeal before us.

CPIO Shri Raj Pal Arora, Addl. Registrar submitted that there were, in this case, four SLPs before the Supreme Court, two of which had been dismissed and two pending. He argued besides that the information sought by appellant Ms. Verma in her original RTI request on action taken on the request of 15.2.08 has been provided. Under the RTI Act the reasons were not required to be provided,, which CPIO has volunteered.

Appellant Ms. Gita Dewan Verma has on this reiterated her stand that because the plea of the mater being subjudice has been raised, it leads to the suspicion that information meriting suo moto disclosure under Sec. 4(1)(d) is being concealed on the plea that the issue is subjudice. However, she was unable to confirm this because the manner in which this subject has been held to be subjudice had not been disclosed. Only a bald statement had been provided by CPIO in his response of 12.3.08. In this context, she submitted a copy of the Extraordinary Gazette Notification regarding change of land use issued by Ministry of Urban Development on Feb. 12, 2008 to which she had made reference in her request of 15.2.08, a copy of which had been endorsed to Dy. Registrar (AG) Supreme Court of India, which reads as follows:

“S.O. 272(E) – Whereas certain modifications which the Central Government proposed to make in the Master Plan for Delhi regarding the area mentioned hereunder were published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary, as Public Notice vide No. S.O. 767(E) dated 16th May,2007 by the Delhi Development Authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 44 of the Delhi Development Act, 1957 (61 of 1957) inviting suggestions as required by sub section (3) of Section 11-A of the said Act, within thirty days from the date of the said notice.
  1. Whereas a number of objections/ suggestions were received with regard to the proposed modification and whereas the Central Government have, after carefully considering all aspects of the matter, decided to modify the Master Plan for Delhi 2021.
  2. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub section (2) of Section 11-A of the said Act, the Central Government hereby makes the following modification in the said Master Plan for Delhi 2021 with effect from the date of publication of this notification in the Gazette of India.


The land use of the following area measuring 12.19 acres of land in Zone D is changed as per description listed below:



Land use (MPD-2021

Land use changed to








Pragati Maidan In Zone D




Government office

North – Railway line/ Metro Station.

East & South – Pragati Maidan Complex.

West – Mathura Road.

(F. No. K-20013/17/2006-DDVA/IB)
P.K. Santra, Under Secy.”

Appellant Ms Verma submitted that it was in reference to this Notification that she and others of like mind had moved the request of 15.2.’08


The information sought by appellant Ms. Gita Dewan Verma was simply on the action taken on the e-mail request of 15.2.08. The response of the CPIO was in accordance with the letter of the law. Then CPIO Shri Ashok Kumar has informed Ms. Gita Dewan Verma that the Registry considered that no action was called for. He has also provided her with the means of access to the judgments of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the order under which certified copies of the rulings of the Supreme Court can be obtained. However, contrary to what CPIO himself has contended in his arguments before us, he has infact provided reasons for not taking action on the request of 15.2.08 by stating “as the matter is subjudice”. Surely, by doing so he has raised doubts in the mind of appellant who therefore cannot be faulted for having therefore sought a specific clarification.

Learned Counsel Shri Amit Anand Tiwari conceded the point that although the response of CPIO was in keeping with the letter of the Act, once the elucidation had been given by CPIO, he was then bound also to provide the details. These are as follows:

“Dismissed vide order dated 18.11.2008:

  1. SLP( C) 13563/ 2007
  2. SLP( C) 16318/ 2007

Pending – Last date of hearing 6.5.2009:

  1. SLP( C) 13982/ 2007
  2. SLP( C) 13983/ 2007

Shri Tiwari also clarified that there is no separate procedure for accessing information regarding administrative decisions taken by the Supreme Court of India other than what has already been provided in Sec. 6(1) of the RTI Act read with Order 12 of the High Court Rules. Appellant Ms. Gita Dewan Verma may, if she wishes, make a request for the copies of the SLPs cited by him under the rules referred to but the decisions in this case will be accessible through the Supreme Court of India website, the address of which has been provided by to appellant by CPIO.

Although, therefore, we find that the response of the CPIO was in accordance with the law, the response was not explicit as would have been in keeping with the spirit of the law. The result was therefore obfuscation rather than clarity. This point appears to have been missed by the Appellate Authority Shri M. P. Bardhan in his decision in first appeal by stating that the application of 15.12.2008 had sought no information in the request of 15.2.’08, a point conceded at the very start by appellant Ms. Verma. The RTI application was that of 29.2.08 and it is the disposal of that application which had to be addressed by the Appellate Authority. The clarification having now been provided, the appeal can be considered allowed and disposed of. There will be no cost.

Announced in the hearing. Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties.

(Wajahat Habibullah)
Chief Information Commissioner

Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the charges, prescribed under the Act, to the CPIO of this Commission.

(Pankaj Shreyaskar)
Joint Registrar