The Central Information Commission Disposed of the Appeal and Directed the PIO To Submit a Reply

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Facts

The appellant filed an RTI application on the date 19.12.2018 looking for information, firstly the total number of complaints received against the practicing lawyers from the year 2017 and the whole number of lawyers who breached the provisions of the Advocate’s Act, 1961. Later, the CPIO replied that they can provide information to him about a case that was directly related to him. Feeling dissatisfied with this response, the appellant approached the commission. A written submission was received from the complainant on the date 14.06.2021 but in spite of providing information to him within the time period, the Executive Secretary of SBC returned the IPO with regards to the fees and requested for a DD after 3 months on 16.03.2019. He then obeyed the PIO’s plea and again on 30.04.2019, the SBC told him that the information related to his case can only be provided.

 Arguments before the Court

After giving the notice in advance to both of the parties, the hearing was scheduled through audio conferencing. The complainant responded that there was an intentional delay in providing the details because the IPO encompassed by the RTI application was returned after three months of filing the RTI application. Even after depositing the requisite fees, no information was provided till the present date. Respondent no.2 denied the acceptance of the notice of hearing from the Commission. He stated that the complaint had been filed falsely before the Central Information Commission as the State Bar Council, Madhya Pradesh. He raised the jurisdiction issue of the State Bar council Madhya Pradesh and stated the after-effects of the complaint which was here referred to as the theme. Moreover, the complainant did not deplete appeal implementation under the Advocates Act, 1961 if he was dissatisfied with the given decision.

Court’s Observation 

The commission disagreed with the respondent’s plea on the jurisdiction issue. The commission further observed that the respondent was relying on the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 and the RTI Act, 2005 and with this, the commission found out that the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh was established accordingly with the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 which was central legislation. Concerning the issue raised by the respondent, the commission observed that there was a delay in providing the details of the filed RTI application.

Court’s decision 

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The commission directed the PIO to provide the necessary information without any delay in future cases. The commission considered the sensitivity of the RTI application. Based on the complaint towards the State bar council Madhya Pradesh, the commission asked the registry bench to explain why penal action should not be commenced against him and the PIO must present his reply by the date 15.08.2021.


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