When the hearing started, the Appellant expressed his displeasure for not knowing as to which RTI application is being referred as he had filled more than 200 RTI applications for calling out corruption and did not receive any statement about the case hearing despite admitting that he confirmed his presence for the audio conference to the undersigned staff of the registry attached with the bench on 09.06.2021. To accelerate the case by removing all the hurdles, the commission read out the RTI contents and other case details.
With repeated instructions to the Appellant during the hearing for providing him with the information while making an issue on the aspect of corruption, he outstretched the interpretation of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act as to include deductions and inferences to be drawn by the CPIO was unwarranted as it casts immense pressure on the CPIOs to ensure that they provide the correct deduction/inference to avoid being subject to penal provisions under the RTI Act. The Appellant’s recognition is also drawn towards certain judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts on the scope and ambit of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. The commission also quoted some relevant facts and definitions under the RTI Act section 2(f).
The commission took section 2(f) into consideration and said that the definition showed that an applicant under Section 6 of the RTI Act can get any information that was already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law. Of course, under the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get a copy of the opinions, advice, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advice, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed. The Public Information Officer was not supposed to have any matter which was not before him or any information he could have acquired under law. Under Section 6 of the RTI Act, an applicant is authorized to get only such information that can be accessed by the “public authority” under any other law for the time being in force. The answers sought by the petitioner in the application could not have been with the public authority nor could he have had access to this information and Respondent No. 4 was not obliged to give any reasons as to why he had taken such a decision in the matter which was before him.
The commission decided to dispose of the appeal because it did not find any relevant thing which needs intervention. Although it directed and questioned the CPIO as to why they didn’t reply because not only was it their duty but they are also bound in doing so. The CPIO replied that they will be more careful with future cases.
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