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SC dismisses plea seeking details of 2018 collegium meeting

The apex court only the final decision of the Collegium needs to publicised


The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea filed under the Right to Information Act (RTI) seeking the details of the Supreme Court collegium's meeting on December 12, 2018. According to the court, the discussion cannot be disclosed to the public, and only the final decision of the Collegium needs to be uploaded to the website.

The plea was filed by RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj who placed reliance on the interviews given by Justice Madan Lokur, who took part in the December 2018 meeting, according to Live Law.

Lokur said in her interview that the decision to recommend the  elevation to two High Court Chief Justices was finalised in the said meeting, but was changed after his retirement. 

However, the apex court said that only the final resolution can be considered as the decision, and whatever is discussed is not required to not be in public domain.

The plea was dismissed by the bench led by Justice M R Shah who stated that no final decision was taken during the December 12, 2018, meeting. "Some discussions might have taken place, but unless and until a final decision is taken after due consultation and on the basis of the final decision a resolution is drawn, whatever discussions which have taken place cannot be said to be a final decision of the collegium," the judge said while dismissing the plea. 

He added that the resolution dated 10.01.2019 has specifically mentioned that the consultations were not complete on the meeting held on Dec 12, 2018, and therefore the agenda items were adjourned.

"Therefore, as such no final decision was taken which has culminated into a final resolution drawn and signed by all the members of the collegium," the court added.

The court added that it "do not want to comment" on the reliance placed on the press reports of the former collegium member.

The petition pertains to the decisions taken at the meeting wherein the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and four senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court—Justices Madan B Lokur, AK Sikri, SA Bobde and NV Ramana - took certain decisions regarding the appointment of judges. The meeting's details were not uploaded on the Court's website. 

However, those decisions were overturned. In the resolution dated January 10, 2019, the Collegium recorded that the decision of December 12, 2018 was revisited."

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