Right to Information

RTI: Supreme Court of Pakistan Ordered to Release Staff Information

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered its office to release complete information about its staff strength to a private citizen within a week. The court held that it falls within the purview of Article 19A of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to information of public importance.

The court also clarified that the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017, does not apply to the Supreme Court. However, it directed the court office to provide the information sought by the petitioner, Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, as it does not infringe upon the functioning of the judiciary.

The petitioner had sought information on the total strength of the staff employed at the court, vacant posts, contractual or daily wage employees, fresh positions created after January 1, 2017, female employees, appointment of special persons, transgender employees, and the approved rules on recruitment policy in the court.

The court’s order came in a judgment authored by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa. He observed that access to information is essential for the well-being of the people.

Justice Athar Minallah, also a member of the bench, added a note on the subject. He suggested that the Supreme Court should adopt the principle of proactive disclosure of information by placing all the information of matters relating to public importance on its website or displaying it through other means.

The court directed the court office to provide Ali with the following information:

  • Total strength of staff employed at the court
  • Vacant posts
  • Contractual or daily wage employees
  • Fresh positions created after January 1, 2017
  • Female employees
  • Appointment of special persons (people with disabilities)
  • Transgender employees
  • Approved rules on recruitment policy in the court

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