Supreme Court Refuses To Disclose Justice Patnaik's Probe Report On 'Larger Conspiracy' Against Judiciary Under RTI
The Supreme Court's Public Information Officer has declined to release the contents of a report submitted by former SC Judge Justice AK Patnaik on the investigation into the "larger conspiracy" behind the sexual assault charges levelled against then-CJI Ranjan Gogoi. The CPIO of the Supreme Court said, "The nature of information sought is exempt under Section 8(1)(b), 8(1)(j), and Section 11(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005." In response to an RTI application filed by journalist Saurav Das seeking details of the article, the CPIO of the Supreme Court said, "The nature of information sought is exempt under Section 8(1)(b), 8(1)(j), and Section 11(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005." Disclosure of "material that has been specifically prohibited to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court" is exempted under Section 8(1)(b).
Section 8(1)(j) exempts disclosure of such information if it relates to personal information that has no connection to any public activity or interest, or if it will result in an unjustified violation of the individual's privacy. The disclosure of third-party information is exempted under Section 11. "With two years having passed and the likelihood of recovering electronic records at this distance of time is remote, particularly since the reach of the inquiry and the power of the learned Judge is restricted, no useful purpose would be served by continuing these proceedings," the Supreme Court recently concluded. The Justice Kaul-led bench also noted in the closure order that Justice Patnaik's report - which has not been made public - acknowledged that the "existence of a conspiracy cannot be fully ruled out."