New Delhi: No counsel was present to defend government's position on the first day of hearing before Supreme Court in a crucial case related to appointment of Information Commissioners as the Ministry concerned was informed late.

File notings, related to handling of Namit Sharma Vs Union of India case, the orders in which created the risk of bringing the working of Information Commissions at central and state levels to a standstill, show that matter was brought to the notice of the ministry concerned only after first day's hearing was concluded on July 18.

The notings show that the writ petition dated July 11 was brought to the notice of nodal ministry--Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions--on July 18 after the hearing of the first day was over.

The file notings, which were revealed in response to an RTI application, show Secretary Personnel had sought explanation from the sub-ordinate officials on the issue, "How can case reach judgement stage without hearing 'GOI'?" and "Please discuss. Why were we kept in dark?" on different occasions.

"As DOPT was not informed of the hearing, there was no Government counsel to defend the case on July 18, 2012 and the court ordered that which, Government Counsel was present in the court to appear on behalf of the Government," Director Anuradha S Chagti had responded.

Chagti explained that a lawyer had called her on July 18 around 5 PM over phone to inform that writ petition had been filed on July 11 and was listed for arguments the next day and requested them to collect it.

(Agencies)

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