CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday asked the State Government to respond after a petition challenged the immunity provided to Vigilance Wing from the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Sarangi issued a notice to the Government directing it to file its response within three weeks.
The HC notice came after RTI activist Pradeep Pradhan filed a writ petition challenging a notification of the State Government, issued in August, which had kept the State Vigilance out of the RTI's ambit.
The petitioner stated that transparency and accountability in functioning of public authorities are an essential component of democracy and any undue and unreasonable restriction by virtue of rules which have bearing with the RTI Act amounts to negating the idea of an informed citizenry where every citizen enjoys an equal right to information. This right cannot be allowed to be disturbed, especially by rules that are not backed by legislative sanction.
Stating that notification of the State Government is unconstitutional, arbitrary and in violation of the RTI Act, Pradhan submitted that any exemption which is not envisaged in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act appears to impose a restriction on access to information held by or under the control of a public authority which is inconsistent with the Act.
ASI reply on Puri temple repair
Cuttack: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday informed the Orissa High Court that it has approved the design and plan of its core committee of experts for repair and renovation of the Jagamohan of Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri As per the earlier direction of the division bench comprising Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Sarangi, the ASI submitted its affidavit where it said some of the suggestions of IIT Madras relating to safety measure have also been approved by the Director General.
Considering the affidavit, the HC directed the Government Advocate to obtain instruction as to whether the Works Department of the State Government can execute the restoration work of the Jagamohan. Further hearing in the matter is posted to January 3, 2017. Earlier on Tuesday, the ASI had filed an affidavit stating that it has decided to implement the suggestions of IIT Madras which was contrary to an earlier affidavit. Considering the contradiction, the HC had directed it to file a fresh affidavit. On the same day, the report submitted by NK Mohanty Commission, constituted by the HC to make an assessment of the renovation work, was in agreement with the suggestion by IIT Madras.