Opinion: Any Challenge On POFMA Should Be Done In Open Court, To Show Gov’s Transparency

Given the intentions and objectives of POFMA as persistently reassured by the Government from even before its passing as a law, the Government should waive its rights to resist any applications by any applicant to have POFMA matter heard in open court.

Further, given that any assertion by the applicant of abuse of POFMA by the Government may well be determined by the Court based on the applicant ‘s evidence alone without obliging the Government to disclose any material, let alone, any material that is secret or protected from public disclosure, the question of any risk of jeopardizing State Secrets does not arise at all.

Hence, there is no reason to hold POFMA applications in Chambers. Conversely, there is every reason to have such applications heard in open court as a matter of public interest, especially, in light of the intentions and objectives of POFMA, particularly, as repeatedly assured by the Government, namely, to filter out fake news. The public is entitled to know why the subject information so classified as fake news is legitimately fake news, as opposed to being wrongfully so declared.

AJ Ramachandran

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