The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued notice to the Gujarat legislative assembly seeking its response on a Public Interest Litigation petition that prayed that information relating to proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of the State be updated regularly on its website.
A Bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and Ilesh Vora issued notice to the Legislative Assembly seeking its response to the issues raised in the writ petition.
“We seek the response of the respondent on this writ petition in public interest,” the Court said.
The petitioner, Neeta Dattataraya Hardikar, describing herself as a public-spirited citizen, approached the High Court praying for a direction to the Legislative Assembly to upload certain documents on the assembly’s website in terms of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).
The petition prayed that the following be disclosed to the public:
- a) Live telecasts of Assembly proceedings, telecasts of previous proceedings and transcripts, important papers to be laid, private member’s business, zero-hour, list of questions and their answers, text of debates,
- b) Text of legislations including subordinate legislations
- c) Information on the Committees on the Assembly and summary of their work and reports prepared by them,
- d) The rules, regulations, instructions, manuals, and records
- e) Copy of documents that are held by it or under its control
Emphasizing that these documents should be revealed in public interest as per the provisions of the RTI Act, the petitioner sought the disclosure of as many documents as were in the possession of the State Assembly pending the disposal of the case.
If any of the documents could not be revealed ‘in public interest’, the Assembly could claim legislative privilege, it was additionally argued.
The court directed the Assembly to respond by February 17, 2021.
Senior Advocate Prakash K Jani and advocate BS Soparkar appeared for the petitioner.