Transparency of Transparency / The Revival of Ray XXXIII

Regardless of how it is articulated, some like formula of compromise must be applied.”Vinson.jpgChief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson

My Lord, How Transparent is Transparent Enough?

This case concerns the balance which is required between two important fundamental rights i.e. right to information and right to privacy. Often these two rights are seen as conflicting, however, we need to reiterate that both rights are two faces of the same coin.” [Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana]

Privacy, it is uniformly observed in K.S. Puttaswamy, (2017) 10 SCC 1 is essential for liberty and dignity. Therefore, individuals have the need to preserve an intrusion-free zone for their personality and family. This facilitates individual freedom. In each case, the public interest test would be applied to weigh the scales and on balance determine whether information should be furnished or would be exempt. Therefore, a universal affirmative or negative answer is not possible.” [Hon’ble Justice Sanjiv Khanna]

In State of Uttar Pradesh v Raj Narain, (1975) 4 SCC 428 Chief Justice A.N. Ray, speaking for a Constitution Bench of this Court observed:

“In a Government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. The right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary, when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can, at any rate, have no repercussion on public security [See, New York Times Co. v. United States, 29 L Ed 822: 403 US 713]. To cover with veil of secrecy, the common routine business, is not in the interest of the public. Such secrecy can seldom be legitimately desired. It is generally desired for the purpose of parties and politics or personal self-interest or bureaucratic routine.”

These observations were reiterated by the Seven-Judge Bench of this Court in S. P. Gupta, (1981) Supp SCC 87.” [Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud]

 – Central Public Information Officer, Supreme Court of India v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, [Civil Appeal No. 10044 of 2010].