The Supreme Court on Tuesday recalled an order and admitted that it committed a "mistake of law" by directing that only sitting or retired high court chief justices or an apex court judge could head the central and state information commissions.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and A K Sikri withdrew its order of September 13, last year in which a slew of directions were passed pertaining to appointment of information commissioners.
"It was mistake of law. We recall the directions," the bench said while reading out the operative portion of its judgement on a petition filed by the Centre seeking review of its last year's order.
The Centre had sought review of the apex court's verdict, saying it is against the provisions of the transparency law.
The apex court, in its judgement last year, had said that like other quasi judicial bodies, people from judicial background be also appointed as members of the central and state information commissions and this should be done after consulting the CJI and chief justices of the respective high courts.
The court had directed the government to amend RTI Act for it. "Chief Information Commissioner at the Centre or state level shall only be a person who is or has been a chief justice of the high court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India," the court had said.
The bench had passed the order on a PIL challenging section 12 and 15 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, enumerating the qualifications needed for the appointment of members of the commissions.
The bench had, however, refused to quash the sections but asked the government to modify them so that people from judicial background are also preferred for the posts.