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Order bringing attorney general's office under RTI stayed

Order bringing attorney generals office under RTI stayed

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed an order of a single judge holding that the office of the Attorney General for India (AGI) is a public authority falling under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S Endlaw granted the stay after Centre approached the court challenging the order.

"It requires consideration. The order of single judge is stayed," the bench said, posting the matter for April 27.

The government has challenged the March 10 order of Justice Vibhu Bakhru that would make the office of the top law officer answerable to the public.

Justice Bakhru had said that AGI was a constitutional functionary and its role was not limited to merely acting as a "lawyer for the government of India".

Under the RTI Act, any government office or authority or any organisation substantially funded by government would come under the purview of the transparency law.

It had also refused to accept the government's contention that nature of information or advice rendered by the AGI was "privileged" and not amenable to disclosure under the RTI Act.

"Merely because the bulk of the duties of the AGI are advisory, the same would not render the office of the AGI any less authoritative than other constitutional functionaries," Justice Bakhru had said.

It had also refused to consider the government's argument that there was practical difficulty in providing information under the Act as the office of the AGI did not have the requisite infrastructure.

The office of AGI can refuse to disclose all such information or data which falls under the Section 8 of the RTI Act, the court had said.

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