court-documents-accessibility-to-third-party

Why in News

Recently, a bench of the Supreme Court judges ruled that court documents such as copies of judgments and pleadings can now be obtained by third-parties or those not party to a case.

  • The information will be only available after the court rules permit it and not under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
  • This decision comes a few months after a five-judge bench of SC opened the office of the Chief Justice of India to scrutiny under the RTI Act.

Key Points

  • Rule 151 of Gujarat High Court Rules was being upheld, which allows access to certified copies of judgments, orders and pleadings to a third-party, or those not party to a case, only under the order of an officer of the court.
  • High courts of Bombay, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madras etc have similar provisions.
  • The bench held that the High Court holds the information as a trustee for the litigants in order to adjudicate upon the matter and administer justice.
     
    • Third parties should not be permitted to have open and easy access to such personal information of the litigants or information given by the government in the proceedings because there would be a misuse of the court process and the information to an unmanageable level.
  • According to the rules, litigants are entitled to receive copies of documents/judgments, etc on filing of an application with prescribed court fees stamp.
     
    • Third parties are not given copies of judgments and other documents without the assistant registrar’s order.
    • The registrar, on being satisfied about the reasonable cause for seeking the information/certified copies of the documents, allows access to the documents.

Source: IE