Indian Commission Rules Attorney General Exempt

14 December 2012

India’s Central Information Commission has ruled that the Office of the Attorney is not a public authority under Right to Information Act.

The CIC order of Dec. 10 said the Attorney General’s position is unique because “he is standalone counsel of the Government of India.”

“He renders legal advice to the Government of India which is not binding in nature,” according to the decision. “There is a lawyer-client relationship between the AG and the Government of India and not that of servant and master,” the CIC said as reported by the Indian Express.

The CIC’s conclusion is based on Article 76(1) of the Constitution, which says that “the President of India shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court to be AG of India.” While this Article says “a person”, Section 2(h) of RTI Act says, “Public Authority means any authority or body or institution or self governance established or constituted….”

The CIC order says, “The term ‘body’ or ‘institution of self government’ cannot be made applicable to the AG for India as AG for India is neither a ‘body’ nor an ‘institution of self government.”

See a critical summary and analysis of the decision by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

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