The Appellant filed an RTI application on the date 14.05.2019. The CPIO replied on 07.06.2019. The appellant filed an RTI application attempting to look for some details. In reply, the CPIO declined from giving information to the third party and stated that a government servant cannot file an RTI application before the public authority where he was employed and as the college was being funded by UGC, the principal will remain the same. Being discontented with this reply, the appellant filed the first appeal on the date 24.06.2019. The order of the FAA dated 05.08.2019 denied giving the information under sections 8 (1), (d), (e), and (j) of the RTI Act. Again, being dissatisfied by CPIO’S denial of giving information by invoking any excluded clause of the RTI Act, the FAA missed the reply of CPIO without any proper justification. With this, the appellant approached the commission with the second appeal.
The CPIO told the commission that details were denied from giving to the appellant because it was mentioned that as the appellant worked in that very same organisation, he shouldn’t be asking for such information under the RTI Act. She also stated that the appellant didn’t mention any reasons as to why he was asking for such information about his colleagues. Moreover, the information under point no. 3 of RTI application was already present with the appellant and he compiled them with the case records which justified that he had access to all the information and yet he took alternative methods to pass through the RTI Act. Furthermore, the appellant passionately argued against the contradiction of the information and exhorted the bench for tracking some precedents in which the information related to the third parties was acknowledged by various courts of law.
The commission observed all the facts and arguments present on the record and the CPIO’S denial related to the third parties, the court found this reply relevant. Furthermore, the court expressed their displeasure as the CPIO crossed some limits by warning the appellant against filing the RTI application on an irrelevant issue stating like if he was working at the premises then he cannot ask for information. Here, the CPIO was nudged about section 3 of the RTI Act which stated that all citizens shall have the right to information. In simple words, RTI was granted to all the citizens and the act does not differentiate between a citizen or employee of the same organisation in which he was working. The court further warned the CPIO from taking these steps in future cases. For the appellant, the court found that the information remained excluded from providing it to the appellant under section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act.
The court considered the interpretation of point no. 7 of the RTI application and the CPIO could give information regarding the monthly remuneration to the declared third party under section 4 (1) (b) (X) of the RTI Act which provides the Suo Moto declaration of monthly remuneration of all the employees by the public authority. The commission directed the CPIO to provide information to the appellant regarding the monthly remuneration of the mentioned third party in the application free of cost within the period of 15 days and a consent letter of this accomplishment should be sent to the commission by the CPIO.
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