Social activist Ajay Dubey had filed an application seeking information on expenses incurred on board and lodging of the judges attending the retreat and giving away gifts to them.The National Judicial Academy (NJA) has asked an RTI applicant to define ‘hospitality’ as a prerequisite for disclosure of details of expenses incurred on the Retreat of Supreme Court Judges organised in Bhopal in April in 2016.
Social activist Ajay Dubey had sought information on expenses incurred on board and lodging of the judges attending the retreat and giving away gifts to them, besides relevant file notings.
“The definition or meaning of a term hospitality may be specified in the question upon which reply can be issued,” the NJA said in its reply.President Pranab Mukherjee had on April 16 in 2016 inaugurated the ‘Fourth Retreat of the Judges of the Supreme Court’ at the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal.
The academy was also asked to provide copies of correspondence made with Supreme Court, Madhya Pradesh government, MP High Court and District Court, Bhopal, in this regard.
To this, the NJA said, “The term correspondence has been made in a general manner”.
“Further this question comprehensively includes Government of Madhya Pradesh, High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Supreme Court and District Court. In this context the place of the District court has not been mentioned. hence unless otherwise the question is specified and split respectively the reply sought for could not be granted,” reads the response.
When asked to give the names of guests and copies of speeches made by them, the Academy asked the applicant to give the definition of “guest” first.
“The definition or meaning of the term (guest) may be specified in the question upon which reply can be issued,” it said.
Dubey, who has been fighting corruption cases in Supreme Court and other courts in the state, accused the NJA of being “evasive” and claimed that the premier institute was trying to hide information.
“It is really a matter of worry for all activists fighting for promoting transparency in governance. Instead of either providing the information or declining them by mentioning relevant sections of Right to Information Act, the NJA is asking applicant to define terms mentioned in the RTI application. I will approach state Information Commission against this,” he said.
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