The Supreme Court argued that as one of the most open institutions, the current collegium system shouldn't be abandoned because of the opinions of "some busybody." The judge stated that it does not want to remark on what a few former apex court judges, who were once members of the Supreme Court collegium, are now saying about the system amid divisions within the judiciary and its simmering dispute with the government over the system by which current judges appoint judges to constitutional courts. Anjali Bhardwaj filed a petition with the Delhi High Court challenging its decision to deny her request for the agenda of the Collegium meeting held on December 12, 2018, during which some decisions were allegedly made regarding the elevation of some judges to the Supreme Court. The petition was being heard by a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar. Bhardwaj's attorney, Prashant Bhushan, said that Justice MB Lokur, a former member of the Supreme Court's collegium in 2018, had stated in the open that the decisions made at a meeting of the collegium on December 12 of that year ought to have been posted on the website of the Supreme Court.
The collegium of Justices Lokur, AK Sikri, SA Bobde, and NV Ramana (all retired) led by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi supposedly made some decisions on December 12, 2018, regarding the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and proposals for the transfer of chief justices and judges of high courts, but those resolutions were not posted on the SC website. After Justice Lokur's retirement, the collegium's composition changed. On January 10, 2019, the collegium made a new decision to recommend to the centre the elevation of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna. They stated that the earlier recommendations from December 12, 2018, could not be finalised because it was decided to take a fresh look at them. The collegium resolved to revisit the earlier ideas at its meeting on January 10 in light of newly available information.
The petitioner is merely asking for three particular documents about the collegium meeting on December 12, 2018, according to Bhushan, who described the sequence of the alleged occurrences, before the bench. "The issue at hand is whether the collegium's decision falls inside the scope of the Right to Information Act. The decision made on December 12 is discussed in the ensuing meeting, which is dated January 10, 2019," he said. The bench declared at this time that the decisions made in the 2018 meeting were "oral" and not made in writing. Bhushan questioned, "Where has it been said that it was not a written judgement but an oral decision?"
He recalled that this court had issued guidelines about the level of transparency required in the appointment process in another matter involving the filling of vacancies for Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners, which was brought by petitioner Bhardwaj. The Supreme Court Public Information Officer should state that the December 12, 2018 decision was not written in response to his question, "Are the country's people not entitled to know what decisions have been adopted in a certain collegium meeting?" He claimed that the Right to Information Act is a fundamental right and queried if the Supreme Court was exempt from its provisions. The Supreme Court reserved judgement and stated that it will issue orders on the plea.
Bhardwaj's appeal against a single judge's decision to deny a request for the agenda of the Supreme Court collegium's meeting held on December 12, 2018, during which certain decisions were allegedly made regarding the elevation of judges to the top court, was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on July 27. It stated that there was no need for interference with the single judge's decision or the authorities' directives prohibiting direct disclosure. Bhardwaj had contested the CIC's December 16, 2021 judgement dismissing her second appeal before the single judge, and asked for an order to the authorities to reveal the information that was requested in the February 26, 2019, RTI application.