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Delhi HC rules that attorney general's office subject to RTI

The Delhi high court today held that the office of the Attorney General of India carries out public function and it comes within the ambit of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also said that the top law officer performed public functions and his appointment was governed by the Constitution, and so it falls under the RTI Act.

“The office of the AGI is an office established under the Constitution of India. The incumbent appointed to that office discharges functions as provided under the Constitution. Article 76(2) of the Constitution expressly provides that the AGI would perform the duties of a legal character and also discharge the functions conferred on him under the Constitution or any other law in force,” the order said.

“It is not disputed that the functions of the AGI are also in the nature of public functions. The AGI performs the functions as are required by virtue of article 76(2) of the Constitution,” said the court.

“... A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court held the office of the AGI to be a public office. In this view also, the office of the AGI should be a public authority within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.”

It also said that only those documents which fall under section 8 (exemption from disclosure of information) of RTI are excluded from disclosure.

The court’s order came on two pleas filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal and RK Jain seeking to declare the Attorney General’s office as a public authority under the RTI Act on the ground that the top law officer’s appointment was governed by the Constitution.

One of the pleas also challenged the Central Information Commission’s decision holding that the office of the Attorney General was not covered by the RTI Act.

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