Libertatem Magazine

CIC Says That Correct and Timely Response Is Essence of RTI Mechanism Enacted To Ensure Transparency and Accountability in Working of Public Authorities

Contents of this Page

Case: Mr D Shekhar Vs. CPIO, Municipal Council, Port Blair


In the present case, an RTI application was filed by the Appellant. Here, the Commission outlines the fault of the Respondent and stresses to review the whole mechanism of dealing with RTI Applicants and evolve a robust and effective system. 

Facts of the Case

The Appellant in his RTI application sought information on 15 points. These included, list of officers of PBMC who visited construction sites, list of buildings, list of the commencement of works, copy of norms, list of default buildings, copy of electrical rules etc. The CPIO provided the information on some points to the Appellants and the remaining points were not addressed by the CPIO. Dissatisfied with the reply received from the CPIO, the Appellant filed a first appeal. After that, a second appeal was filed before the commission with a request to provide information and impose penalty to the CPIO. 

Arguments placed before Court

The Appellant as well as the Respondent remained absent during the hearing. The Commission was under intimation by the Appellant that he would be unable to attend due to personal reasons. No intimation was received from the Respondent’s end despite the fact that notices were duly served on them.

Court’s Observations

It was noted by the commission that there has been gross negligence and neglect in handling the RTI matters in the Public Authority. The Commission felt that correct and timely response is the essence of the RTI mechanism enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities. In this context, the Commission referred to the decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Mujibur Rehman vs Central Information Commission (W.P. (C) 3845/2007) wherein it had been held as under:

“14…….The court cannot be unmindful of the circumstances under which the Act was framed,  and brought into force. It seeks to foster an “openness culture” among state agencies, and a wider section of “public authorities” whose actions have a significant or lasting impact on the people and their lives. Information seekers are to be furnished with what they ask for unless the Act prohibits disclosure; they are not to be driven away through sheer inaction or filibustering tactics of the public authorities or their officers. It is to ensure these ends that time limits have been prescribed, in absolute terms, as well as penalty provisions. These are meant to ensure a culture of information disclosure so necessary for a robust and functioning democracy.”

The Commission also noted that it should be the endeavour of CPIO to ensure that maximum assistance should be provided to the RTI Applicants to ensure the flow of information. The Commission further expresses its displeasure on the casual and callous approach adopted by the Respondents responding to the RTI application. It was felt that the conduct of Respondents was against the spirit of the RTI Act, 2005 which was enacted to ensure transparency and effective access to the information.

Court’s Judgment

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions available on record and in the light of the utter neglect and unresponsiveness in dealing with the RTI applicants, the Commission directed the Secretary, PBMC to review the whole mechanism of dealing with RTI applicants and evolve a robust and effective system of replying to such applicants within the stipulated time period as per the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.  

Click here to view the Judgement. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgment from courts. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

About the Author