The Bombay High Court on December 3, 2019 in the case of Public Concern for Governance Trust v. State of Maharashtra
held that the Right to Information is inbuilt in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.
A Division Bench comprising of Justices SC Dharmadhikari
and RI Chagla
was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Public Concern for Government Trust which sought a better implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The court while hearing the matter instructed the Government of Maharashtra to make appointments to the vacant posts of Information Officers in the State. The government respondent had submitted that it was unable to fill up vacancies due to the absence of regulations in relation to the same. The Court noted that Recruitment Rules of 2018 had been already framed earlier keeping in mind the vacancies in this regard and the directions of the Apex Court in the matter. Thereafter, the State Government assured the court that it would comply with the aforementioned regulations.The Court further held that, “From time to time certain orders were passed in this PIL to ensure that this enactment does not become a dead letter. The enactment is in larger public interest. It is not as if the right to information is a right derived by the citizens from the RTI Act, 2005. Be it known to everybody that right toinformation is implicit and inbuilt in the right and freedom guaranteed to a citizen under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India. The right to free speech and expression includes within it the right to obtain information. That is how this constitutionally recognised and permitted right is made meaningful and its enforcement is now serving a larger public purpose. It is only the enforcement machinery which is created by the RTI Act, 2005.”
The matter is listed for next hearing on January 14, 2020.[Read Judgment]