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Delhi HC orders Supreme Court to maintain better record of all pending cases

The Delhi high court Thursday asked the registrar of the Supreme Court to maintain a compilation of pending cases, which have been heard and on which orders have been reserved.

In a significant verdict aimed towards greater transparency in the judiciary, Justice Vibhu Bhakru said: “Indisputably, the period for which a case remains pending after the arguments is relevant for any citizen who desires to know about the pendency of cases before the Supreme Court.”

The high court upheld the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Central Public Information Officer of the Supreme Court (CPIO) to provide information regarding pending cases on a Right to Information (RTI) request made by activist Commodore Lokesh K Batra.

It also asked the CIC that if the information was centrally not available, the necessary arrangement be made in future for compiling such information and disclosing it in the public domain.

The CPIO had denied the RTI request to provide data of those cases whose arguments were heard and judgment reserved since December 2009, saying it did not maintain the data in the manner sought by Batra.

“In the present case, it is the stand of the petitioner (Supreme Court registry) that it does not maintain the data in the manner sought for and thus, has no obligation to provide the same to Batra. This stand is, clearly, unsustainable,” the court said.

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